The Rise of Outcasts
The entire hall was filled with applause as my father took the stage.
"Greetings, everyone! I welcome you all to the first ceremony ever since I became the head. A ceremony to entrust everything to my eldest son, Nicolo Leonardo. He, who is chosen to be the next head of the family. With that said, I hope you all are enjoying the feast. The ceremony will start when the clock hits 12. First, the showcase of a memento from 100 years ago and then the ceremony will end with a ball. Make this night a memorable one, my friends."
My father raised his hand with a glass of beer and the hall went in an uproar. I and Sophia were watching it from the stairs.
"Listen here Sophia, something big is about to happen."
"What do you mean?"
"I will disrupt this ceremony."
"We have everything planned out. We will steal Nox in this event and I will leave High End for good. Then, we will come back with a greater force and destroy this district. We will put an end to this system."
Sophia was confused, as expected.
"In short, this is a rebellion. I am doing exactly what I said earlier; going up against my father's wishes. I will surely give those people the freedom they wanted. Now, here is the tough part. I know I just declared that I will never leave you alone but taking you with us will be quite dangerous for yourself.”
Sophia didn't say anything but she clearly looked sad. I couldn't blame her.
“If you insist then I got no choice but to take you with us.”
"Will helping those people truly make you happy?"
"I can't say for sure but that's what I want to do. Whether I will end up regretting it or not is yet to be seen."
"If that's the case…then I will wait for you brother. I will wait for you, knowing you are by my side. Make sure you come back."
Sophia said with a sad yet cheerful smile.
When we came down, I saw Fina standing on a side alone. She came to a smile after seeing us together.
“Where did you run off to?”
Fina hesitated a bit since Sophia was with us.
“Don’t worry, I already told her. She is fine waiting for our return.”
"Is that so?" Fina was relieved to hear that. "Trey called us to inform us about the situation. Risa stayed with him."
Fina proceeded after a pause.
"According to him, the security is extremely tight around the hall. All four towers are heavily guarded. Our snipers are ready. You will give us a signal as soon as the ceremony ends, then the assault will begin. We will split into two, one for the Nox and the other as a diversion.”
"Now get going. Sophia, come with me."
Fina and Sophia disappeared from my sight and I went onto the stage. It was starting. Only 15 minutes left before the clock hit 12.
As I was climbing up the stairs, the applause increased. I was somehow maintaining my composure in a tense atmosphere like this. I felt like time was moving at a slow rate. I looked down from the stage and everything seemed distorted. My mind was having trouble keeping up with this. I was feeling dizzy but I didn't let it show. Amid all the cheering and my father's speech, the clock chimed after reaching 12; the crowd went silent.
I bowed down before my father. The ceremony started. My father was asking me to pledge my loyalty and all that crap and I was replying with 'I do’, even though I don’t care. This was all about me, swearing in the name of Leonardos that I will succeed as the head of the family.
“Do you accept all of that?”
With that, the formality of the ceremony ended. I searched for Fina in the crowd. When our eyes met, I gave her a nod. That was the signal.
"Ladies and gentlemen, now that we are done with the formalities, it is time for a glimpse of the weapon that symbolizes peace. My grandfather, Grigio Leonardo, led our people during the apocalypse. Nox, the weapon of mass destruction, now symbolizes peace with the rest of the world. This is warning for other nations to interfered in our lives. We handled things on our own and after 100 years, we have built a fascinating society."
My father was spitting nothing but nonsense just to gain their attention. I was getting tired of this. After some time, a staff member came and whispered something to my father. I assume he came to say that everything is ready.
"Now then, I present you the legendary weapon which was last shown during my ceremony."
The wall above my father slid and behind that was a wall of see-through glass. Behind that wall was a red glowing orb, placed on a mechanical object. That was my first time seeing Nox as well. As everyone was immersed into the orb, a sound of a blast could be heard. The sound of it wasn't like that but that's exactly why I thought the blast must be huge because you could not easily hear the noise outside in this hall.
Everyone panicked. A man came and reported the news to my father that some people were trying to break into the hall with heavy firearms. My father was looking as if he expected this. Jokes on him, this was within our expectations.
"Calm down, everyone. There is no need to panic. Some people are trying to break in but it's not possible. The walls cannot be breached. No need to worry, the security will deal with them in a matter of seconds."
Father was saying all that as he stared at me. He probably figured I was involved in this. I shrugged my shoulders in response.
After two to three minutes, we heard more explosions one after the other. Shortly after that, someone appeared behind the glass wall.
"Who is that?" Someone from the crowd shouted.
Just then, a massive explosion could be heard and the front door went flying. Two men with heavy firearms entered, three were fighting outside as the gunshots could be heard.
The guy quickly grabbed the orb and ran straight to the glass wall. A blue shield appeared in front of him and he took a long jump while breaking the wall as the pieces of glass shattered all over the place.
But that's exactly when things went south. As the guy was in the air, a red light came out of nowhere and cut him in half. The other two were decapitated in the next moment. The orb rolled under my feet…The irony of that.
"Now, now. No need to panic everyone. I got everything under control." A middle-aged man with great build and height, wearing a green jacket entered. Who the hell was he? We weren't expecting an unexpected guest.
"Hello Nicolo, I think it's our first-time meeting." The man stated while moving towards me.
"And who might you be?"
"The one you have been looking for all this time."
NO. It can’t be.
Seeing my unguarded expression, the man smiled and continued.
“The name is Giovanni, the man behind all the military affairs.”
It felt like my soul had been sucked after hearing that name.
"Why are sweating, my boy?" Giovanni still had a wicked smile on his face. "Could it be that you are afraid of getting exposed?"
"Wh…what do you me...mean?"
“I know everything. You are the one who started this rebellion to steal the core and destroy High End. AM I RIGHT?” He was really close to my face. I was having trouble breathing.
"What's the meaning of this?" My father shouted. I guess he wasn't fully aware of what I was trying to do. But more importantly, how did Giovanni come to know all this? Forget it, it was not the time to worry about that. Everyone was staring at me, I guess there is no point in hiding anymore.
"Yes, I was the one who orchestrated this rebellion. This system disgusts me. We are living a life of comfort while the people of Low End are living the opposite lives. That's why I decided to destroy it and create a better society"
“You are still spitting crap like this? How many times did I tell you not to associate yourselves with them? They are tras__"
"SHUT UP!" I screamed my lungs out. "I am tired of hearing the same thing over and over again. It's not my fault that you are still bound to the past. It’s not my fault that you are blind to seek the truth. I don't care what you think, I am free to do what I want. If no one is willing to help me, then I will do it myself. I know well that I am taking justice into my own hands. I know that I am trying to be a hero but that doesn't concern me because what I am trying to do is much better than you who is still trying to follow the path of his grandfather. Don't you ever truly give a thought to what's right and wrong? Forget that, did you ever concern yourself with your own family? Mother only married you for your status and even then, she must have regretted her decision. You literally are the worst." WOW! The audacity of me saying that last bit.
“Mr. Giovanni, you can do whatever you want with this fool. I am not associated with him in any way.” My father turned his back on me. His face was red hot. That must have really triggered him.
"Are you running away once again? Guess you don't even want to face the truth and prefer to live in dark. Mark my words; this will soon come and bite you."
My father gave a death stare to me. I kept humiliating him in front of such high-status nobles. I was ready to say some more shit but then, a piece of wall fell from the top and crushed some people. There was a hole in the roof. Then, I heard a familiar voice.
"Enough with this Nicolo, we are leaving." Fina came out from the crowd, grabbed me and the orb with speed and pulled upward through some horizontal maneuvering gear. It left, even Giovanni, in shock because his men were standing completely frozen.
"Giovanni!" I shouted. "We didn't get to talk much but I will come for your head as well. Be prepared for that.”
As we reached the top, I saw Trey and Valentino there.
“Sorry for the inconvenience. Giovanni’s arrival was unexpected.”
"Don't worry. At least, it didn't hinder us in obtaining the orb."
“Look at this red bad boy! I can feel an intense power from this.”
"Save your chitchat for later, Trey. Let's get out of here before Giovanni's men surround us." Valentino then pointed toward a bike in the alley.
"Nicolo, take Fina with you on that bike and hide somewhere in X-99 Delta. We will take the orb and contact you once things calm down a little."
“Fine by me. Hurry Fina.”
Fina handed over the orb to Trey and we used the same equipment to get down, sat on the bike and flew onto the calm streets on High End. It must be hard to get past the guards but, at least, one big obstacle was done. We will somehow figure this out as well.
My heart was beating fast on our first victory.