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    Asianovel

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    Chapter 96

    "Nay, racial discrimination?" Yeye muttered the unfamiliar yet familiar phrase, her expression distorting as she recalled events from history books.

    Yeye: "You can't be serious, you want to start an anti-racism movement in this game?"

    God Among Mankind: "When have I ever joked with you?"

    Yeye: "Well... It might not work, right? Is it that simple to achieve?"

    Racial discrimination had always been a profound societal issue, one that remained unresolved even to this day. As a result, numerous protests against it had erupted, both in reality and within the game, where it persisted from the 20th century onwards, with countless significant events and demonstrations.

    But could such a grand movement truly be sparked so casually?

    God Among Mankind: "Of course not randomly. I've already researched the game's social background, which differs from our reality. For instance, the country where Arkham City is located seems to embody characteristics of various Western nations, including their racial issues. Due to previous wars, many ethnic groups have merged, but that would inevitably lead to a multitude of social problems."

    Yeye: "I see, you want to exploit the Arkham citizens' treatment of the Kamui to evoke sympathy from other minority groups? Make them speak up for the Kamui, thereby changing the mindset of the people in Arkham City? But wouldn't them pretending to be of a different race eventually be exposed?"

    God Among Mankind: "No, that's not it. I don't want them to pity the Kamui and thus cease their hostility.

    Divine Presence on Earth: Morality and compassion hold no value in this land. Only interests, influence, and public sentiment manipulation can sway opinions! The puppet masters control the voices of the elite to manipulate the masses, while I use a more influential banner to control them back.

    Nayte: So, what should we do?

    Divine Presence on Earth: Wait for my word. You'll know soon enough.

    While players were plotting trouble online, the Kamui community was silently cleaning up their neighborhood.

    The protesters had left quite a mess behind—rotten eggs, paint, and various colors had turned the once-neat streets into a chaotic scene. Women and men worked diligently to clean up, their faces etched with worry.

    Though the Kamui were once nomads, no one truly enjoyed a life without a stable home. This neighborhood was one of the few places they could call their own, but unless a miracle occurred, they would be wandering again.

    Kamen scanned his fellow tribe members' numbed expressions and let out a barely audible sigh.

    "Chief," a young girl, having freed herself from her mother's embrace, ran over to Kamen, tugging at his shirt. "Are we moving again?"

    "Perhaps," Kamen replied, his gaze softening as he looked at the girl. He crouched down and stroked her head. "Lydia doesn't want to leave, does she?"

    The little girl shook her head honestly. "No, if we leave, we won't have a house, and I can't go to school anymore. I promised my friend that we'd walk to and from school together every day."

    Carmen fell silent, aware that Lydia's school was the nearby Welfare Primary School, where the underprivileged children attended for free lessons and textbooks. The quality of teachers might be inconsistent, but it was one of the few hopes for these lower-class kids to alter their destinies.

    But if they returned to their nomadic existence, even this small chance would vanish. If Lydia possessed talent in alchemy or divination, she could potentially make a living with those skills. However, if not, her best outcome would merely be marrying a young man from the tribe.

    Despite being a Master Alchemist, Carmen couldn't single-handedly change the fate of an entire race. If he left the Kamui tribe, as others had before him, he would undoubtedly live a better life, sought after by various organizations for his alchemical prowess.

    Yet, he didn't. The reason lay in the eyes of every Kamui watching him.

    Carmen raised his head, noticing that all the Kamui cleaning the streets were also looking at him. They watched him intently, though no words were spoken. Their eyes asked, "Where does our fate lie?"

    He didn't know the future of the Kamui tribe, but as their leader, he vowed to guide them forward.

    "Have faith, I will lead you. Our revered Lord will continue to bless the Kamui."

    "Will He?" a young Kamui inquired.

    Carmen answered without hesitation, "Absolutely, trust in that."

    If not for Lane's intervention from the outskirts of the protest, those fanatics might have already stormed into the Kamui district, wreaking havoc. The situation would've been far worse than it was now.

    Lahn and Carmen had mentioned that he would enter a period of slumber after overexerting his power, but even then, the Lord had appeared to save them during the Kamui's crisis.

    The young man lowered his head, saying no more. The women around him hesitated, eventually leaving without a word.

    Carmen knew what they truly wanted to say, what they wished to ask. They longed for assurance that the divine would protect them through this hardship. Yet, he couldn't offer a definitive promise, for he understood deeply that one shouldn't constantly rely on divine salvation, or else it would be taken for granted.

    Moreover, Carmen had been intermittently unable to contact Lahn lately. He knew his master was grappling with an even more critical matter.

    The Kamui had been forsaken by the gods for far too long. Their prolonged suffering, born from the mythical tales, had led some of their kin to despise the so-called deities – a sentiment entirely understandable.

    Now, the Kamui served as the backbone of the Secret Church, not because they genuinely believed in that unknown god. Rather, they trusted Carmen.

    As time passed and they interacted with the players, the strangers had found a harmonious dynamic. Influenced by the players, many Kamui began to embrace the Secret Church, not just due to Carmen's orders. Gradually, things were moving in a positive direction.

    But once they left this place, wouldn't everything return to square one?

    Carmen sighed inwardly, placing his hand on his chest, and whispered, "Forgive Carmen if he can no longer serve you at all times."

    Still no response. Carmen knew that Lane had fallen back into his sleep, and there was nothing she could do about it.

    "Chief, would it be okay if I left these behind?" At that moment, a Kamyi woman emerged from her home. She wore a patched skirt and carried a woven basket filled with herbs.

    Carmen glanced over, slightly surprised. "Becky, are you really going to leave all these herbs here? You could sell them for quite a bit."

    "It's alright, I've made up my mind," said the woman named Becky, who appeared to be in her thirties. The years hadn't diminished the charm around her eyes. "My husband's long gone, and I have no children. I can manage on my own without starving. Let's consider this a token of gratitude for them."

    After the calamity in Arkham, Becky's house had suffered the most damage. As a weak woman, she lacked the strength to rebuild it on her own. It was the players who had come to her aid.

    "I became close with a young girl, and I was planning to teach her how to identify the properties of herbs. But now, I'm afraid that chance is lost," Becky said, looking down at her basket with regret. "I can't read or write, so I can't leave her any notes. I don't know if we'll ever meet again, Chief. Could you deliver this to her for me?"

    "…Alright, what's her name?"

    "Milk Green Tea. Isn't that an odd name?" Becky chuckled. "She told me it's a drink she likes a lot, but unfortunately, we don't have it here. Otherwise, I'd love to try it."

    "I'll make a note of it." Carmen took out a notebook from her chest pocket, ready to jot it down when Becky suddenly spoke again. "Please wait a moment."

    She put down the basket and went to another side, returning with a pot of unknown liquid. "This is from our neighbor, Daro. He asked me to leave it behind. It's his first batch of magic potion, though its quality isn't high. He wants to give it to someone called 'Strongest Man,' saying he'll eventually develop a potion that makes one stronger while also balding."

    "Well, I'll make sure to remember that."

    "Wait a moment, Chief. Don't forget about me."

    "Hmm? Then, Chief, please include me as well."

    Carmen's small notebook gradually filled with names and expressions of gratitude. A pile of gifts formed at his feet, mostly consisting of herbs, potions, or peculiar amulets – the finest offerings the Kamui could provide.

    They weren't leaving without leaving something behind. Carmen pressed his lips together. "Tell them yourselves!"

    One of the Kamui youths scratched his head. "I'm not sure how to say it. We're not very good at farewells."

    "Farewells for what?"

    Matcha Latte and the others entered just in time to see the Kamui surrounding Carmen. They approached with curiosity.

    As her gaze fell upon the packed bags at each doorstep, her expression shifted dramatically. "Where are you going?!!"

    Carmen didn't expect their arrival and gave a bitter smile. "We might have to leave Arkham City."

    "Why?" Matcha Latte was taken aback; she never expected an NPC to run away. "Ah, is it because of the previous protest? You don't have to worry! Lahn... the deity has given an order. We will help you. The Kamui won't be expelled from Arkham City!"

    In reality, Lahn was still asleep. However, the players, especially those from the Secret Church faction, had already taken matters into their own hands.

    They weren't just doing a main quest. From the looks of it, if they failed, the benefits for the Kamui would vanish! QwQ

    The Potion Shop was the only place players had found that sold potions, and one of the few functional NPCs in the game. What were they supposed to do without it?

    Moreover, the Kamui generated many quests. Players couldn't accept losing so many sources of missions.

    As a result, the Secret Church players were more proactive than anyone else. Not only did they follow Divine Messenger on Earth and Black Cat's instructions, but players from the Black Poker gang also volunteered to guard the Kamui district.

    Black Poker was the largest gang in the area, and ordinary people dared not approach them. This ensured that the players wouldn't be attacked by other players or the protesting NPCs while they carried out the main quest.

    "Thank you for your help, but... this isn't something that can be decided by one or two individuals," Carmen said with a wry smile.

    "Not one or two individuals," Arlong suddenly spoke up. "All believers of the Secret Church."

    "Once we join a church, we're like siblings. No one would abandon their own flesh and blood," he said.

    Carmen and the Kamui behind him were visibly moved.

    Alon spoke earnestly to them, "Please retrieve your belongings. No one needs to leave their homeland or bear unjust burdens. Hand this matter over to us, and we will clear your names."

    "However, for now, please stay at home and do not venture out. There may be some danger ahead."

    The Kamui followed his instructions obediently.

    Perhaps it was because this young man, who usually seemed unreliable, was now radiating an unusual charisma.

    "Rhetoric: Great Success"

    Matcha Latte looked at Alon in surprise and whispered, "Why are you suddenly so eloquent?"

    Looking at the rising NPC affinity, Alon's serious expression cracked as he chuckled, "Not too bad, thanks to the support from the live stream audience."

    "Sigh, let him have his moment, darn it."

    "Laughing to death. If we could enter the game, Alon wouldn't be our spokesperson, wuwu."

    "The first game streamer ever to be swept away by live streaming comments in history..."

    "I don't really care, anyway. The Kamui can't vanish, qwq. My potions! My quest triggers!"

    "But wait, what's in Carmen's hand? Look closely!"

    "Wait a moment, I think I see some writing. Ah Long, ask her before it's too late!"

    Ah Long followed the instructions. Though somewhat surprised, Carmen, who was at the back of the group, showed her notebook to Ah Long. "It's just some trivial stuff."

    The enlarged content of the notebook quickly appeared before the viewers in the live stream.

    "..."

    "Are the NPCs' emotional responses in this game really that well-developed?"

    "More details added than necessary."

    "It's not excessive at all, qwq. I wasn't too invested in this main quest before, but now I understand why everyone says this game is so realistic."

    Gamers were well-acquainted with the economic conditions of the Kamuy tribe, having just helped rebuild their homes.

    Consequently, they understood that the gifts before Camen were the best the Kamuy could offer.

    Even from a gamer's perspective, these herbs were of considerable quality.

    Aron strained to glance at his notebook, hurriedly uploading screenshots to the forum.

    In the gamers' forum, discussions about the main quest were in full swing.

    Not Old Wang: Anyone else thinks this main quest is a bit ridiculous? The officials are too biased towards the Secret Church, it's unfair even for casual players.

    Your Phone Died: Hmm, it's a bit much, but as a fan of Lahn, I'm pretty happy ( )

    Pan-Fried Cold Noodles with Stinky Tofu: Looks like the officials finally realize which side of the game brings in the most attention (eats popcorn)

    Sky's Stars: Haha, the game is so biased, it's obvious. The factions' power balance is crumbling; doomsday is coming sooner or later.

    Fleeting Life: Could the person upstairs be from the Star-Gazing Guild?

    Husbando Cuddle: Highly probable, destiny speaks through my toilet breaks.

    Heavenly Star: speechless, I'm just a passerby. This game's power balance is so skewed that even bystanders find it absurd. To be honest.

    Dragon Overlord: 'Passerby' and 'to be honest' are such classic phrases.

    Crispy Fish: @Black Cat, what's your take on this?

    Black Cat: Stop tagging me with this 'what do you think, Yuan Fang?' tone (facepalm). I use my eyes to see, and personally, I don't think the officials are being biased. Rather, I suspect there might be some other hidden plot behind this incident. Did anyone notice the main quest's title?

    Mummy Needs Food: Darkness Flourishes in Light (Prologue)?

    Black Cat: In my opinion, this main quest could just be a precursor to a larger event. Of course, we'll only know the truth as we progress through it. Let's define it after the mission is completed.

    Ah Long: Screenshot.jpg

    Ah Long: Bros, if your names are on there, you can claim the herbs.

    Matcha Milk Green: Grass, who would bother claiming them!

    Sanity Intact: I can't believe I'm here too! Ah, it's that little girl I helped last time. She wants to give me her only teddy bear. What a sweet angel, qwq.

    Matcha Milk Green: I won't accept it, and I won't let the Kamuy tribe move. We will definitely complete our mission!

    Ah Long tagged each player mentioned in the notebook.

    Ultimate Man: qwq

    Baba: Enough said. Not even the president can force the Kamuy tribe away, I assure you (smile)

    Uncle Hao: Ah Long, you must stop them. Don't let Carmen and the others really leave; we'll lose our potion merchant!

    Ah Long: Of course I know! I've already led the Black Poker gang members here to guard against any ninja attacks on the Kamuy tribe.

    Ah Long: But how exactly do you plan to turn public opinion around?

    Baba: Hehe, just open the in-game social media. We're already on it.

    Ah Long's curiosity piqued. He logged back into the game, took out his in-game phone, and after connecting to the internet, started browsing.

    In the most popular short video platform within the game, a video was spreading like wildfire with the title "The Evil Deeds of Racists."

    As soon as Aaron clicked on it, he couldn't hold back his shock.

    It seemed that Yeye had redrawn a Kamui card, while Shu Shu Hao and Ba Ba drew normal human cards. They were enthusiastically introducing to the camera how wicked the Kamui tribe was, all while brutally mistreating Yeye in the process.

    Yeye's acting was particularly convincing; her cries of agony were heart-wrenching. If not for Aaron's knowledge that players could disable pain sensations, he might have been deceived.

    To add to the chilling spectacle, after "judging" Yeye's sins in the video, they proceeded to burn her alive.

    What made it even more disturbing were the fleeting comments scrolling by.

    "Well-deserved death"

    "Judging the devil"

    "I'm giving this video a thumbs up, hoping the creator will make more"

    "The author is doing a good deed, keep it up!"

    "It's not burned enough; they're getting off easy. It'd be best to bind their offspring and burn them too."

    A barrage of inhumane comments flashed by. Arlon was already watching with a frown, and now he nearly vomited from the disgust. He knew that the protesters had lost their minds, but he hadn't expected them to be so devoid of humanity.

    It turned out that God's decision to have Arlon station armed guards in the Kamui district beforehand was indeed wise. Otherwise, no one could have predicted the chaos that might have ensued.

    Arlon: "Will this video pass the review?"

    Baba: "Initially, we wanted to gauge the reaction of the people of Arkham City, so we posted it on their internal network. Let me show you some comments."

    "I hope all Kamui residents commit suicide. Have some dignity. How can they live after cursing so many others?"

    "Die out quickly, laughing out loud."

    "Offspring of devils, all of them."

    "They don't deserve to live on this land. Die, just die already."

    Aron: ...I'm going to vomit.

    Yeyue: We feel the same, so there's no need to hold back. Let's use magic against magic!

    Aron: But you took down that video.

    God Amongst Men: I know, we did it on purpose. It's part of our strategy. We made plenty of similar videos (smiling).

    Aron: ...I understand your plan now. No wonder you wanted me to warn the Kamui tribe not to go out.

    Longmen Forever: To be honest, does this game give you too much freedom... Is everything really alright with this game? Will it survive until the open beta? They dared to release such visuals.

    God Amongst Men: If they hadn't done this, the outcome wouldn't have been as severe. So, do you want to bet on human nature? Will I succeed, or will the people of Arkham City reflect on themselves)?

    Indifferent Transparency: This smile from the big shot is terrifying.

    Secret Crush: Please don't smile like that, I'm scared (shivering).

    Aron: People tend to follow the crowd. I'm not betting on it (cowardly).

    As Aron had pointed out, human nature tends to follow the crowd.

    When a similar video went viral, amassing numerous likes before being promptly deleted, and the participants faced no severe consequences (they canceled their cards immediately after filming, evading the police), it was understandable that some citizens, who had lost their homes in the disaster, would become radicalized amidst the already tense relations.

    Add to this the manipulation of public opinion by the unseen mastermind, which had largely blamed the calamity on the Kamui. Consequently, numerous videos emerged across various platforms in Arkham City. Although many were taken down, the substantial number of likes they garnered made them impactful. Gradually, players stopped filming, but similar content continued to surface. Even Karami pedestrians were assaulted by passersby.

    Eventually, a video on social media predictably caught fire.

    The theme was again a brawl, but this time, there were no players involved. The individuals were not from Arkham City, and the victims, though resembling Kamui in complexion, were innocent targets of random violence.

    Public sentiment erupted into a full-blown firestorm.

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