Chapter 4:

You Are Not Alone

The Rise of Outcasts

I was staring at my food while Risa was busy eating as if nothing happened just a moment ago.Bookmark here

“Carbonara tastes better when it’s hot.”Bookmark here

“Is that so….” I said as if I have no interest in eating that anymore. “Are you not bothered by what I just said?”Bookmark here

“I am, but it would be a waste to let this pasta go. Your concerns can be dealt with later.”Bookmark here

I took another look at my food. Out of consideration for Risa, I took a bite. It was indeed delicious but I was not exactly in a mood to enjoy that.Bookmark here

We didn’t talk for the rest of our meal. Risa, after eating her pasta, gulps down a glass of Bellini.Bookmark here

“Don’t drink too much, I don’t want to carry a girl in a place like this.”Bookmark here

“You don’t need to tell me.” Risa said as she poured some more Bellini for herself. “More importantly, about your situation…I think I get a gist of what you are feeling right now. I won’t blame you for being like that.”Bookmark here

I didn’t say a word. There was nothing for me to say.Bookmark here

“You need to have more confidence in yourself, Nicolo. By having confidence, you will come out as victorious in this battle. The courage to face horrifying things and nightmares.”Bookmark here

“I know and I can’t.”Bookmark here

“That’s a straightforward answer.”Bookmark here

“I already told you. I tried that in the past but failed.”Bookmark here

“Then why not take a fresh start?” Risa had a smile on her face.Bookmark here

HUH. What is she trying to say? Make a new start? Will that change things as they are now?Bookmark here

“Being all alone is harsh, I know that more than anyone. You have no one to discuss your concerns, no one to lighten your weight, no one to comfort you in your hard times. Isn’t that right Nicolo? No wonder why you turn into something like this.”Bookmark here

HUHBookmark here

“You are still partially at fault here. Why did you close yourself when you got us? Talking to us might help you reach some better conclusion instead of this.”Bookmark here

“I thought it wasn't appropriate to discuss this because I was afraid after all that talk.”Bookmark here

“Afraid? HAHAHAHAHAHA.” Risa let out a huge laugh. “How many of us do you think are not afraid? Literally everyone is. They are afraid to die, they are afraid to lose their precious one but they will still fight. Why? Because that’s the only way to achieve what they want. We are all fighting for the same cause, we are in this together, you are not alone. So, remove this idea of regret from your head. This is not something you choose for us, we decide what to do for ourselves. You hold no responsibility for what would happen in the end.”Bookmark here

Risa just keeps talking and talking…but it somehow loosens the weight to some degree. She is not wrong, I was in the wrong not to discuss this with anyone, not even Angelo or Fina. She may be right about me holding no responsibilities of the consequences, all I did was show them a way, it was their choice to choose the path. Is that enough to satisfy my mind and heart? Will talking to others change anything?Bookmark here

Risa leaves her chair and stood beside me. She was in a posture as if she was asking me to grab her hand.Bookmark here

"What do you choose Nicolo? To stay the same as you are or give it another shot?”Bookmark here

Will it work? I don’t know. I don’t have any answers to these questions yet. But if it will help me reach some conclusion and overcome my issue issues then I am more than glad to take that hand.Bookmark here

“Make sure to take responsibility if it didn’t work out”Bookmark here

I said as I stood from my place and shook Risa’s hand. She was chuckling.Bookmark here

I don’t know why but it feels really good after talking about my concerns with Risa. I didn’t intend to let all those things out but Risa’s presence just let me subconsciously spill the beans. Whatever, it’s good that I am feeling much better now. Although I wonder how others will perceive my thoughts. Oh well it will be fine. Bookmark here

After that, we both went back to drinking. An hour later, the thing happened which I feared the most. Risa was lying on the table all drunk. Bookmark here

Now that I am feeling a bit better, I snapped. I know that it doesn’t make much sense but I operate in an opposite manner compared to the rest.Bookmark here

“I kept telling you not to drink much but you won’t listen to me. I don’t want to carry a drunk girl on my back through a crowd like that. We both will be dead before reaching our base.” I spoke in an angry voice.Bookmark here

“Buuut I drank in celebration of you getting back to yourself.” Bookmark here

“Shut up stupid girl. No one told you to lose your composure.”Bookmark here

“Ehhhhhhhh” She is completely wasted at this point.Bookmark here

One can’t tell we were the same person just an hour ago. I was being all gloomy but look at me now, it’s good to feel that way again.Bookmark here

There were still a couple of hours left before sunrise so I decided to wait till then before moving out. Risa was half asleep in front of me. I took a look around, only a few people were left in the cafe. This place was on a higher plane so the city at night looked gorgeous from here.Bookmark here

I was dozing off the moment later. I was really tired and barely got any sleep so the cool breeze up here did its job. Bookmark here

I woke up when the first ray of light hit my face. As I opened my eyes, I witnessed a really beautiful landscape with sun coming out from mountains outside the district. This place really had its own charm. Bookmark here

Just then something clicked and instantly I checked my pockets in order to search for my wallet, it was there. I took a sigh of relief because I thought we might get robbed during our sleep, glad it wasn’t the case.Bookmark here

I then paid the bill and tried to wake Risa, she seems seemed to be in deep sleep. Guess there is no other choice.Bookmark here

“Sigh”Bookmark here

I grabbed Risa and started walking with her on my back. I vaguely remembered the route we came from, so I was hoping that might work. Bookmark here

As we were walking through the empty streets of Opus, something unexpected happened.Bookmark here

“Well well, what do we have here?”Bookmark here

“They seem to be new”Bookmark here

“Jackpot! Grab the guy and cut his tongue, he will fetch a good price at an auction. That girl isn’t going there, we need her for a different purpose.”Bookmark here

Apparently, we were surrounded by five men with arms in hands. From their conversation, I figured we were in a bad position. I can’t do anything especially with Risa on my back. This is really bad, I should have been more cautious. I let my guard down and now both of us are going to be messed up for the rest of our lives.Bookmark here

I was sweating like crazy. A guy grabs Risa by the hair and throws her on the side like trash. I couldn’t move. I was frozen with fear. This is exactly what I was talking about earlier, I will regret my decision to make Risa’s life like this, it was my fault to bring her out like that. I don’t know what to do.Bookmark here

As another guy tried to grab me by the neck, I heard three gunshots simultaneously, three were down. Before others could react to what had just happened, I heard two more and that took care of the rest.Bookmark here

“Marsia, you go check on Risa” Bookmark here

I heard a familiar voice. Bookmark here

“Are you alright Nicolo.”Bookmark here

It was Valentino. Bookmark here

“Yea I am fine” except I was shaking heavily for some reason. Why? This is nothing compared to what awaits us, I need to man up myself. Bookmark here

“Orlando, don’t just stand there. Come give him a hand.”Bookmark here

“Don’t worry, I can walk.” This is embarrassing. “More importantly, check on Risa. She was thrown while being in a state like that.”Bookmark here

Marsia and Orlando grab grabbed Risa and we went back to the base.Bookmark here

“You are not alone” Risa’s words echoed through my ears. She may be right. Maybe I was overthinking stuff. It’s true that the situation would be a lot different if it weren’t for them rescuing us. Now that I think about it, they would have run around trying to find us in the worst-case scenario.Bookmark here

Argh I need to put my mind at ease. Bookmark here

“Did you kill those guys?” I directed my question towards Valentino as we were walking through some dark alley.Bookmark here

“We used darts instead of bullets so they will be unconscious for a while now although they will feel immense pain when they wake up.”Bookmark here

“I am sorry. This happened because I was careless.”Bookmark here

“Don’t feel down, you should be glad that everything is fine.”Bookmark here

I spoke again after a small pause.Bookmark here

“Valentino, what would you do if I told you I am afraid of getting into war with High End. I thought about abandoning this project numerous times, I thought about giving up and going back to live in High End for the rest of my life. How do you process all this after seeing me making speeches about victory, freedom and all that stuff?”Bookmark here

When I looked up, since he is a tall guy, Valentino’s eyes were shining.Bookmark here

“I would say that’s a pretty normal thing to do. I was a bit worried about your mental condition and how you proceeded with things but seeing you opening up like this makes me believe you are not so different from us. What you are feeling is not different from any of us. Don’t lose hope, we will make it out alive and be victorious.”Bookmark here

I should have talked about this earlier.Bookmark here

When we went back, I discussed my concern with others and their response were pretty much the same as Risa and Valentino. That really lifted up the burden from my shoulders.Bookmark here

I apologized to Risa as well.Bookmark here

“It was my fault to begin with, I should have listened to you in the first place.” Risa said while lying on the sofa. Bookmark here

After spending a few more hours, Me and Angelo went back to High End. The first thing that awaits awaited me was the lecture from my Father. I somehow able to hold it, I didn't want any ruckus right before the main event. Bookmark here

With that said, the preparations of my coming of age ceremony started. Bookmark here

Curtain rises on the Night of Chaos.Bookmark here

Real Aire
Joe Gold
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