The Rise of Outcasts
There were a total of 10 districts in the Low End, being supervised by four individuals. I, II and III districts belonged to Sir Alibi, IV and V belonged to Lady Magnum, VI, VII, VIII, and IX was being supervised by Sir Cassius and the last district, X, belonged to Delta.
It is said that they were the descendants of the outside world. Their ancestors migrated here during the apocalypse and took everything under their control when things calmed down. Even if it's true, no one can complain since they have developed a place for the alive.
It was already past midnight and we were gathered at the underground café of V-99 Opus. Accompanying me, were Fina, Risa, Valentino, Trey and Miss Aida. Alibi, Delta and Magnum were seated right in front of us. There was complete silence and none of us spoke a word. The waiter was setting up our coffees on the table.
"Where is Cassius?" I initiated the conversation once the waiter was done.
“He is affiliated with Giovanni so we didn’t send him an invitation.” Valentino answered my question.
“And what are the chances that these three are not affiliated with him?”
"Are you mocking us?" Magnum seemed to not like how I was framing them as traitors.
"Relax, Magnum. It is mandatory to confirm the chances of you not betraying us in the end." I said as I crossed my arms and legs and stared at her.
“So, Valentino, my question remains the same.”
“Their lives are within our hands. I have spread people all over the districts that are keeping an eye on them. One wrong move and they will be shot dead. Not only that, they will witness, the thing they love the most, getting destroyed first. For Magnum, it’s her beloved district. For Alibi, it’s his wife. For Delta, it’s his old mother who can’t even walk.”
“Interesting, they really are in your palms. But why can’t you get Cassius this way?”
“He is a very cautious person, it’s really hard to track him down. He is a master of disguise so we don’t even know if the face we saw was real or not.”
"I was expecting the other three to be like this but they turned out to be a disappointment." I had a smirk on my face.
"Watch your mouth, kid." Alibi shouted as he stood and pulled out a gun.
I was not fazed at all and kept glaring at him because he was surrounded by guns. Six men, that were seated near us at different tables, instantly pointed their guns at him. This is what Valentino meant when he said their lives were within our hands.
“Put the gun down, Alibi. No need to get angry over such small matters.” Except this wasn’t small since I was humiliating them.
That was on purpose because all three of them make things worse in their respective districts. They are the epitome of what I hate the most. We got no choice but to team up with them.
As soon as things calmed down, I continued.
“Alright, here is what’s need to be done moving forward.”
I paused for a second.
"As you know, we got our hands on one of the great weapons, NOX. Putting that warning aside, I still believe we all are on the same page, to take down High End and construct a new system."
No one said a word, which was a signal that they agreed with my statement.
“We require manpower to launch an attack, we require multiple bases to create as many weapons as possible. High nobles tend to make deals within Low End, whether it's a weapon, technology or some artefacts. I know it sounds absurd since they hate the lower districts to their core. I am sure you three are well aware of that."
"Yes. Mr. Alessandra frequently visits our prostitution house." Alibi spoke in a salty manner.
“That’s one of many examples. One of the goals is to interrupt such meetings. We need to prevent as much advancement as possible as a lot of the High End nobles rely on Low End…Hehe, the irony."
“How much time do you think it will take?”
"About two years, I assume."
"I know. We still have a bunch of stuff to do. All we did in the last few years was to gather allies and create one base camp. Our allies are spread across all ten districts. Now, we need your cooperation in creating more districts. We need all the firearms and gears to be ready, as soon as possible."
"Then, how are you planning to launch the attack?" Alibi asked.
"I will tell you when the time comes. So, what do you say? There is still an option for us to set our camps outside. It will be really inconvenient for us but we will somehow deal with it, although you might end up regretting your decision."
"You know, Nicolo. I really hate you." Magnum was the one to say this.
“That’s weird. This is our first-time meeting.”
“You want to save the people of Low End?”
“That is correct.”
“You want to create a better society for them?”
“Did you ever consider if everyone wants that?”
"That's none of your concern. I will handle things the way I see fit."
Magnum was clearly getting irritated with this conversation. She definitely hated my guts.
“Isn’t that like taking justice in your own hands?”
"It seems like you don't quite understand what this is all about. We are taking matters into our own hands to provide liberties. We have spent years, going around and meeting people that want to live a freer life. I don't care if the minority doesn't want a revolution. I will not stop the plan for the sake of them. The majority wants a change. I don't care if I fail and receive hate afterwards. I have decided not to regret my decision."
Risa was smiling as I said that.
"No regret, even after failing? That doesn't sound right."
I stared directly into her eyes.
"That sounds like you are doing it for the fame and recognition." Magnum had a smirk on her face. "When all things settle down, you will be remembered as either a hero or a rebel. Isn't that what you want? Isn't that why you decided to gather all these high standard kids? Isn't that why you decided to marry that golden-haired chick? Talking about standards, you have sons of high nobles on your side and their daughters as well to use them as a prostitute and fulfill your carnal desires, am I right? Living a life of heaven while talking about creating one on this land. What a hypocri__”
I finally lost it. I stood from my chair, grabbed her from the collar and pulled her towards me. I made her bow down a little because of the difference in our height. She was taller than me and wearing high heels.
"Watch your mouth, Magnum. I was trying to keep up with your crap all this time but I am done. Say one more thing and your body will be filled with holes. It shouldn't be your concern whether I play justice for the sake of attention or the sake of true justice. Your role is to accompany us, no matter what our true end goal is. It should not concern you. Next time, think thoroughly before you speak or else, I won’t hold my punches.”
Alibi and Valentino tried to separate us. I pushed Magnum onto her seat and sat with my legs crossed as my expression still showed I was quite angry.
I was getting tired of her nonsense. What truly made me lose myself was the moment she described Fina and the others as slaves that I use to satisfy my desires. I just couldn't bear the disrespect thrown at them from someone like her.
Seeing my expressions, Trey continued the conversation.
“Picking up where we left off, no one got a problem with this cooperation, right?”
No one said a thing.
"Then, it's settled. We will start working on our bases in the coming weeks. Dismissed."
With that, we went out of the café.
“Delta didn’t speak at all during the entire meeting…”
“He is mute.”
"He can hear but his vocal cord is damaged for a long time now. He either uses sign language or text to convey his thoughts."
“Don’t pity him. He is totally not worth it.”
"Forget that, how long will it take to create a weapon, suitable enough to hold the power of the orb?"
“I can’t say anything for sure at the moment but the team is currently analyzing the orb.”
“Make sure the weapon won’t go off after just one shot.”
"That's the main issue. The team is worried that the weapon they will create would not able to hold the orb for long. But, I will do my best to increase its capacity."
"Please do so. One attack won't be enough if we are attacking from the port. Also speaking of port, I contacted a friend of mine that will help us in building destructive ships. I will head to VII-99 CAS, you guys can go without me. I will be back by tomorrow midnight.”
I grabbed the bike and within few minutes, I was out of the district. I checked my wristwatch, it was 3:28 AM. I picked up speed because I didn't want to get in contact with the mercenaries since it's already this late.
Even at full speed, it took me more than 3 hours to reach the district. My back was hurting like crazy. I took some rest in a motel, which was also our meeting place. After lying there for a few more hours, someone knocked on the door.
"Code?" I spoke.
"Layline Ships." The person behind the door replied.
I opened the door. In front of me, was standing a tall person with long black tied hair. Jeronimo Accardi was an old friend of mine. In fact, the first person I met after visiting Low End for the first time.
We shook hands with brute force.
"I don't even remember when you last visited this district."
"Yeah, it has been really long. I am feeling really nostalgic."
"Then, why don't we take a little detour?"
With that, I went on a nostalgic tour with Jeronimo.
We talked, laughed and ran through a memory lane of all the stuff we did in this district.
"Hey, do you remember when we decided to create a spaceship and take a tour to the moon after seeing a plastic model of that in a shop?"
"Of course, I do." Jeronimo was laughing hard. "I remember you saying how much you wanted to pilot that. You were so dumb back then."
"You are in no position to say that because you declared you will create that ship with the junk lying all over the place.”
“Ehhh, I don’t remember.”
“Of course, people don’t usually remember embarrassing things about themselves.”
"Leave it, do you remember that statue?" Jeronimo pointed towards a statue of a lion, wearing military armour.
"Of course, I do. How could I forget such an iconic place? That's where we first met.”
"I can't forget either. When I first met you, you were just a lost kid. Now, look at you, an outcast."
"Things changed as time passed. Back then, you were also just an alley kid. Now, look at you, the head of Layline Enterprise."
"But, our promise still hasn't changed. I will provide assets, as much as possible. I still want to see the fall of High End."
"We have planned to attack in 2 years."
“That’s plenty of time. You also want to blow up the port, right?”
"Yes, that's the easiest way to invade the district but it is heavily guarded by the security officers."
“How many allies do you currently have that are willing to fight with you?”
"I would say around 5,000."
“They are more than enough.”
“I know but the problem is to provide weapons for 5000 people.”
"That is true. We also need 5 warships, that are 80 to 90 meters long, to carry 1000 men each. Not to mention, we also need an extra ship for Nox. We can't take the risk of losing our men if the ship explodes.”
"That is exactly why we chose the time period of two years. Depending on the situation, two years might not be enough though."
Jeronimo was in deep thoughts as he put his right hand on the chin.
“There is a possibility of your men increasing, right?”
"Of course. We have yet to start scouting people. The meeting with the district heads ended last night."
“I see. Very well then, Nicolo. Make sure to keep me updated with the total number of allies. I would like to spend some more time with you but we got ourselves a deadline. The team will visit our company in a few days to get their products, so I need to oversee all the work.”
“What exactly is your company?”
“We are partially involved in creating both weapons and warships so Giovanni and Alessandra visit us quite often. Besides that, it's a canned food manufacturing company on the surface.
“Alessandra…that’s my second time hearing that.”
"He is a real scum. He got five wives but he still spends most of his time in prostitution houses. He is fond of collecting unique weapons and is quite knowledgeable about them, so he visited me one day and provided me with a blueprint to create a weapon. Ever since then, he is our customer.”
“Do you know when his next visit will be?”
“In two months. He will come with his men to collect his stuff.”
"Perfect. Inform me when you receive his call of arrival. We plan to create hindrances in such matters in order to throw them out of the loop. Steal their firearms and kill him, if we find the opportunity. This way, we will preserve your business as well since you won’t be held accountable for such incidents.”
"I see what you are trying to do. You want me to maintain my relationship with them while providing you weapons indirectly. That will definitely push them on the edge and they will, most certainly, ask for our cooperation. With this, they will be completely in our palms."
Jeronimo slapped on my back.
“This could actually work.”
"I know, right? They will be short on weaponry and it will cause high anxiety, knowing that we will launch an attack at any time. High End barely produces any good weapons."
"I am already late." Jeronimo stared at his wristwatch. "Alright then, I will inform you when the time comes. Till then, see you later."
Jeronimo waved his hand and so did I and with that, he disappeared from my sight. It felt good talking to an old friend after a long time. I was also glad that things were proceeding quite smoothly.
I tilted my head a little. I spotted a shadow in the right alley. That man was following us from the motel. I instantly noticed him but ignored him since he was too far to hear our conversation and I didn't want to ruin the moment by chasing him.
But now that Jeronimo is not here anymore… I turned in the direction of the alley and then sprinted. That dude was quick to notice. I was chasing him in the narrow alley at full speed. He was taking turns after turns, going from one alley to another. He grabbed the balcony of a house and went on top of it. I guess he was underestimating me.
I was chasing him on the roof and the dude was sweating as he didn't expect this. It was hard, running and jumping from one roof to the other. He jumped onto the main road this time.
“Trying to take crowd as a cover? Too bad that’s not going to work.” I had a smirk on my face.
I jumped from the roof but ran in a different direction. I knew exactly where he was going.
I was heading straight to the tunnel that led to underground caves, the place of homeless people. If you wanted to hide, that was the best place to do it. I saw him going through a manhole within the crowd and I knew exactly where that led to.
My suspicion was correct. I spotted the man in one of the caves but he still hadn't noticed me.
I took my gun out and pointed towards his leg.
The noise of a gunshot and screams scared the hell out of those homeless people.
"No need to be scared. I am only here for this thief."
Then, I grabbed the dude from the hair and dragged him out of the tunnel.
"I think you were underestimating me, isn't that right? You must have never imagined that I will chase you down this hard or I will shoot."
"I am sorry, I am sorry, please spare me."
"I know the answer might be obvious but still, who sent you?"
It must be Giovanni. He must have been desperate to wipe us all out.
“What did you say?”
"Your father sent me here to keep an eye on your activities and kill you when I get the opportunity."
"What is currently going on in High End?" I asked him in a rough tone.
"I don't know the full details, but there is currently a bounty on you. Whoever brings you, dead or alive, will get to be the next Leader of High End. Your father is not the head anyone."
“And I assume it was Giovanni’s idea?”
“I don’t know that much.”
Everyone from High End was trying to get their hands on me… which would be really troublesome moving forward.
But what should I do with this guy now? Setting him loose will be really dangerous as things have taken a steep turn. I didn't like doing this but I got no choice at that time…
I threw him on the ground and pointed the gun on his forehead. As he was crying, begging for life, I pulled the trigger. His body was lying lifeless the next moment. His head was covered with blood.
My hands were shaking tremendously. I guess I would never get used to this.