Chapter 394: Refugees

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Ivan Zachary was an ordinary, quiet working class individual who lived on 67th Avenue in Norzin's Upper District.

Before moving here, he had been living along 23rd Avenue.

His primary job was at an ore processing plant under the Rolle Resource Development Corporation banner, starting work when the sun merely started to rise and only finishing and heading home when the moon hung completely in the quiet night sky.

Because of his poor family background, Zachary had been living like this ever since he graduated from a community education. It was hard, but he could still get by.

However, this peaceful life was turned completely upside down about a few months ago—when the serious gas leak on 23rd Avenue occurred.

When he got home from work, he realized that his house, along with the buildings on surrounding streets, had been completely reduced to dust.

Fortunately, the government in the Central District announced that an assistance grant would be given to those affected, so he could continue to barely make ends meet.

Just that his life had become more difficult.

With this grant, he decided to move to the vicinity of the Church of the Dome near the north of Norzin because he had been posted to a more remote factory. To make it more convenient to travel to work, renting a house near there was the best solution.

Zachary didn't complain. After all, that was all he knew how to do. However, working became even more tiring, and he would only get to see the moon each day.

Having slogged away for a good half of his life, things were getting worse by the day... Such thoughts would occasionally sprout in Zachary's mind, but his habitual satisfaction and drive made it so that he never thought of resisting.

Since young, he had been taught that in life, there was only work and surviving.

However, the sudden changes left Zachary at a loss, and in order to find something to rely on, he began to accept the Church of the Dome's preachings and became a firm believer of the Moon.

On a certain day, when he was praying at night, Zachary had even personally witnessed a legendary Apostle's descent. However, before he could secretly tell other believers about this good news, the Church of the Dome was exposed as a cult the following day.

Another gas explosion also took place in the Church of the Dome branch near his residence…

His faith, and his home... were gone once more.

And this time, no one would compensate him, because Zachary was also considered a member of the cult.

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Fortunately, the Central Police Unit said that as long as cult members were willing to turn over a new leaf, nothing would happen to them. Thus, Zachary was filled with hope and waited for the outcome of 'reform through labor.'

He was sent to 67th Avenue, doing his old job once again, but this time, he couldn't even see the moon. He didn't have a home either, just a dirty plank bed.

His time was spent slogging away day and night, and on top of that, he often gambled a large part of his meager earnings at rat-fighting and other forms of entertainment provided by the factory. After paying his monthly taxes to the Central District, he was basically left with no balance.

His salary lasted a mere few days before it was all handed back to the higher-ups and he would be urged to get up and work everyday. If he wasn't careful, Zachary would just get an earful.

But these 'good days' did not last long.

Two days prior, as Zachary had been about to get up and start working, a massive earthquake caused the factory to collapse. This massive metal factory that was like a monster adept in sucking human blood dry was instantly turned to dust.

However, Ivan Zachary was fortunate enough to avoid death and managed to crawl out from the ruins.

But when he opened his eyes, he saw colleagues all around him had died miserably as well as the superiors who always pushed him around. On top of that, he saw an even more terrifying scene—

It was as if Zachary was witnessing the intersection between dream and reality. A pillar at the edge of the dream had collapsed, and he saw a majestic knight far away turn into a ball of brilliant flame burning to the extremes, like a second sun that had fallen from the sky as it collided with another ball of black matter.

Just the sight of this alone made Zachary feel as if his body were about to explode. His stomach churned as a splitting headache assailed him. Ordinary folk couldn't withstand such pain for more than a few seconds, and thus, Zachary fainted on the spot.

When he opened his eyes once again, he was lying among a heap of corpses.

As he crawled out of this place that was pretty much a mass grave, he tried recalling what he had seen and started doubting the reality of this world.


"What periodic subsidence. It's all a lie..." Ivan Zachary, who had been starving for days, was crouching under a footbridge, complaining to others who had also been displaced by the collapse of 67th Avenue.

The Central District had acted rather indifferently to this disaster, merely taking measures to blockade it but hadn't even mentioned rebuilding. Thus, it was only natural for the fortunate survivors to be wandering around.

Because he was homeless, Zachary and a few others whom he got along with returned to his old home where he had originally come from, 23rd Avenue.

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"It doesn't matter if that periodic subsidence is true or false... What's important is whether they will give us aid this time round?" Jack, who was closest to Zacharay, was hoping for financial grants.

But in truth, he already knew that the possibility of that happening was rather slim.

Were this a gas explosion, it could still be considered a man-made disaster and the Central District administration might still provide some funding for alleviation. However, the reason given this time was periodic subsidence, which meant a natural-occurring disaster, so those affected could only blame it on their ill fortune.

"This isn't periodic subsidence at all!" Zachary cried and recalled the last scene he had witnessed before losing consciousness. However, he didn't dare share it anymore because he wasn't sure that what he had seen had been real. Clenching his fist tightly, he deliberated for a while before saying, "Have...Have you guys ever seen a god?"

Jack: "..."

The handful of refugees glanced at Zachary sympathetically as if he were a fool. "I heard that you were tricked into believing in the Church of the Dome. Everyone knows that many were brainwashed as well and it isn't your fault."

"No, it's not… Haa." Zachary tightened his fists, wanting to argue, but decided against it.

He knew that no one would believe what he saw, but the more he described that scene, the more vivid it was in his memory and he became increasingly certain that he hadn't seen wrongly.

"At this rate, we'll starve to death. This is at least a definite truth."

A rumble sounded from a comrade's stomach at this moment, verifying this cold hard truth.

"Forget it." Zachary suddenly stood up from the ground and dusted his pants. "We'll starve to death if we sit here and wait for the aid that's never to come. Being a bad person would at most get you shot dead...

"It's death either way." A tinge of unwillingness showed in his hungry eyes as he gritted his teeth. "If we die anyway, I'd rather die with a filled belly."

Zachary glanced at the others. "Working honestly would only get you destroyed over and over again... The limits of ordinary people like us are more glaring the harder we work."

“Ivan…” Jack was stunned. “What are you talking about?”

"I can't be a good person anymore, Jack!" Zachary's eyes were resolute as if this was the most determined he had ever been in his life. "Give up. Aid won't come. The central government doesn't give a damn about our lives at all!

"In any case, everyone's in danger. It's said that Norzin might collapse completely and there are refugees everywhere. Nobody would care one or two more cases that might pop out. All we can do is rely on ourselves..."

His gaze fell on a bookstore across the street. He took a deep breath—

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"Let's rob that bookstore."


The weather over the past few days had been quite bad, but at least it wasn't raining today...

Still, the sky was overcast and gloomy today, as if something bad was about to happen.

With a book in hand, Lin Jie was seated idly in his bookstore, leisurely reading and pondering.

Lin Jie didn't care whether his bookstore was crowded or not. As long as there were many other customers like Ji Zhixiu who had casually gifted him a villa in the Central District, he wouldn't have to worry about making enough to get by.

What he wanted were high quality customers that could give feedback. With such customers, his business would surely be lucrative.

Of course, ordinary customers still had to be received, such as... the handful of poor-looking customers that had just entered.

Lin Jie glanced up and saw the few shabbily dressed customers that had abruptly entered the bookstore.

"Hi there, would..."

"This is a robbery." Zachary drew a small, polished knife from his breast pocket and aimed the sharp blade at the young owner seated at the counter.

"Ahh?" The smile froze on Lin Jie's face. He didn't understand what was going on.

Besides the rogue pointing a knife at him, two others had climbed over the counter and surrounded Mu'en who had been pouring tea. The hunger and malicious intent in their eyes were clear.

Mu'en glanced up indifferently without even stopping what she had been doing.

The sound of tea being poured was especially shrill in this tense atmosphere.

"D-Didn't you hear? Hand over everything that is valuable!" Zachary tapped his knife on the counter and said as fiercely as he could.

This was his first time being a bad person, so he couldn't help but feel a tad nervous. However, his resolve at being a bad person was firm. No longer would he be diligent and honest; he would do his best at being bad.

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Lin Jie's lips twitched. As he watched the robber who seemed even more nervous than himself, the young bookstore owner let out a sigh.

His shabby bookstore was really popular with miscreants.

First, it had been the bunch of brats led by Hood who were out to steal some books, and now, it was a robbery.

However, these bunch of rogues before him weren't stealing books like Hood. Instead, there was a look of real desperation and hunger in their eyes.

Although Norzin had slums, things weren't that bad that people would resort to robbery from starvation.

Lin Jie crossed his arms and rubbed his chin while asking calmly, "Where have you refugees come from?"

"Shut up..."

"Answer Boss Lin's question," a low voice growled. Several refugees felt a sharp pain in their necks as their vision turned dark, nearly causing them to black out.

Lin Jie was stunned for a moment. He turned his head sideways to see that Joseph had already come out of the basement. The old man easily lifted a refugee with one hand and tossed the poor guy aside with a scoff. That massive body and aura was rather imposing.

Mu'en finished pouring the tea and handed the cup to Lin Jie.

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Lin Jie accepted it out of habit and then started to wonder how Joseph had managed to recover so quickly from such serious injuries.

Jack held up both hands and gulped. "I'm sorry, very sorry... We, we're..."

He nudged Zachary with his feet, signaling to the latter to run, but Zachary was frozen to the spot, looking as if he had just seen the devil.

"You, you, you…" Zachary's knife fell to the ground with a clatter. He felt his legs giving way as he landed on his butt, all the while pointing a trembling finger at Joseph.

His eyes were wide open as he clearly recalled the last scene before he had lost consciousness.

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