Kids were never considered Dull. After all, a person awakened their powers mostly in their teenage years, so you couldn't consider them Dull at all.
However, the longer the years went, the more it was accepted that a person was Dull. It was usually only after one was no longer a teenager did a Dull truly see just how prejudiced the world was against them.
However, to Stanley, he didn't have to grow to see it. He had been seeing it his whole life.
His mother couldn't go to the town without being bombarded with rude and hateful comments every single step. They never attacked her or were violent, but the passive torture she had to suffer from their words and actions was still torture.
Dulls were usually easy to recognize. They wore simple clothes and were haggard. They were naturally poor as they were paid very little for the food they grew, and what they did pay them was never enough at all.
Dulls were considered the lowest of the low of society just because they didn't have any powers. After all, without powers, they weren't considered useful to the town.
A person who could create fire could help in a kitchen or the smithery. A person who could create light could help brighten up a room. A person who could reduce the weight of things could help transport goods.
Even a power as useless as being able to change one's skin color could be useful in the right circumstances. They could be used to notify people of the status of things just by the virtue of having a different colored skin at any given moment.
However, a person without any power couldn't even do anything that someone else could do more easily. Worse of all, they usually gave birth to Dulls too.
In a town that was constantly looking for the next strong fighter to protect them from the Crawlers, a Dull was the most useless thing one could imagine. They were just one more mouth to feed after all.
So, the general public couldn't help but despise the Dulls with everything they had. While there wasn't exactly anything against the Dulls in the town's rules, the public still discriminated against them.
Even the Mayor was pretty forward with not really caring about the Dulls. It was why he sent them to work in the farms around danger in the first place.
Now that he was close to being considered a Dull without a doubt, Stanley was seeing the discrimination slowly happen against himself as well. They always used to speak behind his back about how he was Dull, but they never took any action.
Today, however, Desmond did. Tomorrow, it might be someone else. They would speak badly about him and his brother wouldn't be around to take care of it every time.
He couldn't even fight back.
He started to feel rather terribly about the whole situation. In the end, all he could do was sigh and hope his powers awakened before he graduated.
He heard a commotion out of nowhere and looked around to see the Mayor walking in from the side with Illan. Illan lifted him up and placed him on a large podium that had been prepared before his arrival.
The mayor looked at the group of people and waited for them all to get quiet down.
A middle-aged woman walked up from the side and arrived by the mayor's side. The middle-aged woman was someone the defenders were used to seeing.
She had the natural power to amplify the sound coming from anyone that she touched. So, people usually liked bringing her along when making announcements.
She placed her palm on the mayor's back and the mayor started speaking.
"I'm sure you all know why you are gathered today," the mayor said. "There is a significant decrease in the number of Defenders, so we will have to supplement that by adding you trainees into the mix as well.
The crowd murmured at the announcement but the mayor continued.
"I'm sure you all are worried, but there is no reason to be. You will not have to go patrol the veil until you graduate unless there is an emergency. Also, you will always be with an actual Defender and won't be working alone," the mayor said.
"The 1st years will work twice a week, the 2nd years will work 3 days a week, and the third years will work 5 days a week. The third years will only have a single day of training since you have already learned most of what you need to learn," the old man said. "You will get more details from your teachers later."
"Now, there is another important thing that needs to be announced to everyone here," the mayor said. "There will be a new census that we will conduct of the town. It is about time we do another one. For the census, the defenders will be working with the trainees to figure out everything you can about the population of the town."
Stanley was only listening when a peculiar feeling struck him. The feeling seemed to try and tell him something, or make him something to do.
However, before he could realize what its intention was, his whole body started trembling since with the feeling, came the terrible memory that haunted him.
He heard the imaginary thud as the giant limb of the Ink Crawler vividly crushed his mother right in front of him once again.
Stanley tried to control himself, he tried to stand up. He tried to ignore the feeling he was getting to focus on himself.
When he was finally able to calm himself enough to snap back to reality, he heard the most crucial piece of information from the Mayor.
"Since we are in desperate need of farmers, your main objective will be to find out the Dulls as fast as you can," the mayor said.
"To start with, record every single Dull in the Defenders and Trainees that are over the age of 16 so we can immediately send them to go work on the farm. There will be no exception."