Chapter 16:

Ch. 16: damned if you, do damned if you don't

Neo Discadia: Rise of the Sewer Rats

The city of Neo Discadia was not named Neo Discadia in any official capacity. it was named Neo arcadia by the shambles of the cities government but was given the street name Neo Discadia for how far from a utopia the city had fallen short of expectations. No one says utopia and thinks of death games, poverty, oppression, class division, and corruption. But then again, when you’re one of the few remaining city across the whole world, the bar for quality is at an all-time low. That's where the dis- in Discadia comes from. from the dissonance between the ideal world and the real world. the fantasy coming to terms with the real. A compromise between the dream and the artistry. The world of Neo Discadia is still an image of what the real world used to be like, no matter how distorted of an image it may be. Although, You could even say it wouldn't be a realistic depiction of how the real world used to be without poverty, oppression, class division, and corruption. Marcus knew that all too well. Bookmark here

Weather they knew it or not, that broken system is what people were used too. what their parents where used to. What society selectively bread for generations to bolster its profits. Good obedient little slaves that could work long hours and sleep short nights. They were unable to see a better world than the one that was in front of them. They just accepted it and worked with the hands they were dealt. They didn't know the game was decided the moment they stepped onto the plate. They didn't know just how much at a disadvantage they were truly in. They didn't know the rules were designed in such a way that the house always wins. They didn't know that the rules weren’t set in stone. They didn't know that they were meant to be broken. Always assuming pain and suffering, oppression and exploitation, were a forgone conclusion. And always paying the price for it. Bookmark here

Chapter 16 Bookmark here

Clanking… shaking… metallic drumming… the stale air being pumped out through a small vent… beams of light bathing the sewer rats in waves as they rose through the floors all the while a centuries-old jingles ringing through small speakers in the corners of the square steel box, the workers that put them there not even knowing why. once great songs of their time rendered into nothing more than elevator music by the passage of time and the ignorance of the youth. Like a song that changes its meaning when you set it as an alarm clock. Elevators take you places you either need to be or rather be. And that music accompanying you along the way over time gained the meaning of waiting. Anxiety. Nervousness. Helplessness. Anticipation. Dread. All these meanings, all the time, all at once. But elevators also provide a moment of reflection, determination, and alleviation. So in a way, all the music does is amplify whatever it is you’re already feeling.Bookmark here

As the trio rode up, An incessant tapping from Erika’s foot wasn't echoing throughout the transportation chamber. Nor were their faces painted with the strokes of distress and nervousness. They stood firm and determined to brave whatever trial lie in wait ahead of them. they would win, whatever it takes. Nothing was gonna stand in their way. The announcers voice echoes through the speakers.Bookmark here

“ladies and gentle-freaks, let me be the first to say this next event is going to be a real treat. We usually try to liven up the events with special gimmicks, conditions, complications, obstacles and the like. But this time, we thought we’d keep things simple and easy to understand. Brace yourselves for the time of your lives, The event you've all been waiting for. A clash between the best of the best where only one can be crowned victor. Now brace yourselves for a good old fashion battle royal!”Bookmark here

“Marcus sure isn’t playing around this time” neo saidBookmark here

“he pretty much said as much last time we talked to him.” Johnny saidBookmark here

After Wendy’s attempted kidnapping, the sewer rats went and talked to Marcus concerned for her safety. He assured then that, as sponsored athletes, Wendy would be under the protection of his organization and that there would be extra security posted around their room. But Neo, wanting to go the extra mile, still ended up buying security lock to place on the door to their room in case anyone got past. Not even Marcus could get in or out.Bookmark here

“Although, I’m afraid you have bigger concerns to worry about” Marcus saidBookmark here

“what do you mean by that?” Erika saidBookmark here

“I say this as a professional courtesy, but next week’s challenge will be a little more difficult than you’re used to. Since you're the perpetual runts of the litter, most people will probably be rooting against you, so try your best to prepare yourselves. There’s a lot of money to be made if you win” Bookmark here

“if you want us to make you money, why don't you just set us up with a bunch of weaklings?” Johnny askedBookmark here

“that's not very sportsman-like of you Johnny. And besides, I can’t control who signs up for what, and even if I could, if I set you up with a bunch of losers, no one would bet against you. it has to be a genuine challenge.” Marcus said “there’s only so much money to be made on the way to the top. And once you're there, the only way to make more is off your own downfall. Be sure not to waste this opportunity”Bookmark here

the way the prize money works isn't as straightforward as you might think. the prize money each individual receives is a product of the audience wagers for or against certain players. none of the prize money winners receive is out of pocket, nor guaranteed. it varies on how much cash people are willing to put down on the chance you're gonna lose. as an athlete their loss and lack of faith in you is your gain. but as a sponsored athlete, your cut is considerably bigger than that of unsponsored athletes. but having the backing of the colosseum has its drawbacks. As people start recognizing them, suddenly they're no longer seen as the pipsqueaks and runts that have no chance, they're recognized as recurring champions. gaining the favor and trust of the audience, they're gonna wager in favor of them. suddenly, profiting off the crowd's ignorance isn't possible, the bets being made for or against, all shift towards favoring them. if no one expects them to lose, and if they want to maintain their status, all they can do is win. Bookmark here

back In the elevator, Neo said aloud “that Marcus sure is money hungry” Then he remembered what he said next…Bookmark here

“For Wendy’s sake I hope you try your best, remember, sponsored athletes don't lose. And if they do… well… it goes without saying… but they no longer get my protection.”Bookmark here

Neo couldn't help but clench his fists. “He says we can only make money on our way to the top, but once were there people only want to see us lose , but sponsored athletes don't lose. So we'll be ousted. And that's if we survive the game we lost in. Either way the clock is ticking. The games were rigged from the start.” he saidBookmark here

“hey” Johnny said placing his hands on Neo's shoulders. “We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. for now, Wendy’s safe and all that matters is that we make it home to her.”Bookmark here

Neo looked at Johnny, with his clenched fist slowly loosening, He let out a deep breath “yeah, Johnny, you’re right”Bookmark here

“wow Johnny” Erika said “I had no idea. that was surprisingly comforting of you.”Bookmark here

“hey, what’s that supposed to mean?” he said Bookmark here

Neo and Erika both started laughing. They both knew exactly what she meant.Bookmark here

Then, in that small moment of levity, the elevator doors opened bathing them in bright white light.Bookmark here

“Well guys, this is it.” Neo saidBookmark here

“let's do our best” Erika saidBookmark here

“it's been nice knowin’ you” Johnny saidBookmark here

“shut up Johnny” the other two saidBookmark here

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their eyes and hearts filled with determination but they were not prepaired for what they would see. nothing could have prepaired them for the sight they beheld. A monster of a man standing 8 feet tall surrounded by bodies… And pools of blood…Bookmark here

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