Chapter 4:

Chapter 4: Reorganization

A Black Market LitRPG


“Sir, are those potions really worth it? Mind-bending doesn’t last long, and that’s a bit too many Stamina Recovery Potions. Sure, the Stamina Recovery Potions are relatively ‘cheap’, but they will be impossible to reverse engineer as well. Alchemy has always had the highest failure rate in terms of industries. Too much prior knowledge is required to make even a basic potion… sir.”

Damian was still coming to terms with how much Kyle had spent on the potion, twelve thousand rakels, despite the fact that they were still in debt.

Kyle did not reply. With the scientific knowledge he had from his former life, distillation would be a cinch. He did not need Damian’s approval either for now.

The food market was still just as crowded as when they first arrived, hectic and bustling with activity. The locals seemed to be on lunch break, gossiping about everything under the sun. Kyle took a slower walk, keeping his ears peeled for any rumours. A vital skill in a foreign environment.

“Did you hear? The Veiled Angels subjugated three gangs in a row in the West Sector!”

“Wow, so the Violet Devils are neck and neck for domination, aren’t they?”

“Yea, they both hold twelve districts each. I feel bad for the gangs trapped in the last remaining six districts. A bloodbath is going to happen over the next few months, for sure. I only hope the Sanctum of Yual would not intervene this time; it would be even worse.”

Thirty districts in a sector… Kyle was listening intently when Damian slightly tugged his shoulder to the side. “Sir, see those two? Local enforcers of the Sanctum.”

He pointed to two men nearly covered in white from head to toe, only the engravings of gold and red on their shirts, pants and shoes breaking the monotony. They were simply patrolling, checking the stalls of the food market.

“Sanctum?”

“The main religion of the Yual Dominion.” Damian sighed internally, now truly believing Kyle was a completely different personality of Alvin. “They enforce the law of the Yual Dominion around here, though the local enforcers usually close one eye on gang activity. They are far too understaffed to make a difference here even if they wanted to, though it would be best if we do not directly conflict with them.”

Another significant power to watch out for. Kyle frowned. He had long forgotten the feeling of being a small fry in a big pond. Back in his former life, he had been the most prominent crime lord for a long time, dominating entire clusters of stars. Perhaps that was why I was so easily betrayed at the end…

The two walked back to the gang’s base through the food market.

As they neared the entrance, Kyle suddenly spun around and faced Damian directly. Damian gulped, reminded of how brutal Kyle was against Ulon, the same stern expression worn on Kyle’s face as he stared hard at him.

“Damian, was it? I understand none of the gang members have been formally educated nor trained, with the exception of Keith.”

“Huh? Yes, indeed. We never had the money to.”

The best underlings are loyal ones who are competent. As of now, they seem to be lacking in both physical and mental training…

Kyle frowned, not replying and re-entering the Seven Snakes base. He did not really pay attention to it the first time he entered, but now he focused more on the décor, layout, and furnishing.

“How big is this base?”

“Sir, we own the entire basement floor of this building. It is only one floor though, a downsize from our previous five-storey building that was lost.”

“I assume lost because of debt,” Kyle remarked.

Damian nodded timidly. Why was he feeling ashamed of how far the gang had fallen? Perhaps it was because he had been singled out as the oldest gang member, making everything seem like it was his fault.

“Show me around.”

“Sir, you’ve already seen your office and your –“

“I meant everywhere else. I want to see the rest of the base.”

It was unheard of for gang leaders to actually leave the vicinity of their rooms and office, much less tour the quarters or common areas shared by the members. What if they poisoned him? Backstabbed him?

Damian glanced at Kyle’s face, who didn’t seem to give a shit. He conceded, bringing him on a tour of the base.

The base layout was exceedingly simple. The entrance led into a short hallway, immediately splitting off in a T-junction. To the right was the gang leader’s quarters, including the office, personal room and shower. Left was the rest. A big, bold red sign indicated that clearly.

Upon turning left, the two entered a large open common area joined to rooms along the side. The common area was filled with junk of all sorts. Heaps of broken metal, twisted wooden frames and half-crushed pipes were stacked on the corners.

At the centre, the gang members were out in force, playing games with each other on snooker tables the size of a room or training on sandbags and weights in the middle. A stolen arctech speaker playing garbled music echoed against the carpeted floor and dusty walls. The layout was extremely haphazard.

Most just lazed about, lying or chilling on one of the many benches and sofas laying about, some obviously stolen from an aristocrat’s setting, with the prior pink fluffy colour now a diminished brown-stained mess.

Kyle’s eyebrow twitched slightly upon seeing the rampant mess. He was not one to fret about cleanliness, considering that he had been regularly covered in blood since day one. However, it was the sheer disarray and lack of organisation amongst them that really got to Kyle.

“Damian. I would like to ask you a simple question.”

Damian froze, noticing the fearsome expression on Kyle’s face. “…Anything, sir.”

“Are you invested in making this gang better? You’ve been here the longest.”

It was a hard question. In hindsight, Damian knew he could have left the gang anytime. There used to be people that he cared for in the gang, but five years of continuous fighting and hustling was a long time. Now he was the last of his generation. Should he jump ship with his younger brother?

Damian immediately disregarded that thought. He owed it to his former friends to make the gang the best he could. This was the reason why he even stayed on when Ulon was the gang leader. He was still slightly on the fence about whether Kyle would be a good gang leader, unable to shake the impression of the formerly weak Alvin.

“Yes, sir, I am.” Damian resolved himself, answering truthfully.

“Good. From now on, you are in charge of discipline and training.”

“Discipline? What?”

“Let me provide an example. Gather everyone here.”

Damian began to gather everyone while Kyle waited patiently, standing near the entrance of the common area. It took close to ten minutes or so for all twenty gang members to assemble, and even then, they were standing in a disorderly manner, some yawning and scratching their heads. Only Damian and Keith were standing firmly.

“It’s the second day since I took over the leadership of the gang.” Kyle began, standing firmly.

“I’ve noticed a clear lack of discipline, training and organisation among you all. You two, run over to the other end of the common area, touch the wall and come back.” Kyle pointed to two random gang members.

The two gang members looked around, trying to figure out whom Kyle was pointing to before they realised it was them. The request didn’t click in their head, making them confused.

“Huh? Me? Why the hell would I do tha-”

RUN!” Kyle suddenly bellowed with such force that the two random gang members nearly shat themselves before they began to run, reminded of the sheer brutality Kyle had inflicted on Ulon just a day ago. The other gang members were shocked at the strength of Kyle’s shout.

They ran as fast as they could, touching the wall before coming back, but they began to slow down upon returning, obviously tired from sprinting the distance.

“How far was that other wall?” Kyle asked Damian, who looked lost, trying to estimate the answer in his head.

“About 25 meters from here, sir,” Keith answered.

“You’re telling me two of our members who are involved in protecting stalls, traders and our businesses are unable to sprint for more than twenty-five meters?”

No one replied, their heads kept low, ashamed by the performance of their fellow gang members. Some even felt they might not do any better themselves either. The two returning gang members panted and heaved, looking as though they had just finished a marathon.

“Hey, fuck you, Alvin!” One of the braver gang member stood up to Kyle, incensed at the entire thing. “You think you’re a bigshot now just because you got lucky in killing Ulon? We ain’t all pushovers nor dumb – you must have drugged that bitch to hell and back!”

“Are you crazy? Keep your head down!” His friend tried to convince him, but he shrugged it off.

“Hell no! We really gonna let this weak Alvin fucker just walk all over us like that? Ulon is one, but this fodder? We all know he cheated!” The brave gang member postured, pushing his way past the gang members to stand in front of Kyle, bravado leaking through.

Kyle smiled as though he had already been expecting this, though he did not make a move.

The brave gang member grinned. “Look at this, lads. All this weak cunt can do is stand and smile, there’s no way in hell he beat Ulon fairly in a-“

Before he could continue, Kyle grabbed the gang member by the face and swept him from under his legs, slamming him down hard onto the ground with a loud crash. The gang member barely moved, unconscious from the sudden attack. Kyle let out a deep sigh, returning back to his original position as though nothing has happened.

The rest of the gang members tried their best to avoid looking at the fallen gang member, though it was clearly impressed onto them that Kyle was most likely even tougher than Ulon had been. No one dared to step out against him now.

“Next, you two. Lift that sofa up and move to that position. Before placing it down, hold it for thirty seconds.”

The next pair didn’t hesitate this time. They lifted a heavy three-seater sofa but could barely lift it and dropped it onto the floor within ten seconds.

Kyle sequentially gave each pair a different physical task in the common area, with the gap between tasks reducing with each passing minute, causing them to exert even more strength. Moving things, sprinting, lifting, shuttle runs to pick up random pieces of trash. Even Damian and Keith were not spared from the physical tasks.

The gang members were not dumb: they were clearly aware that they were being forced to clean up the place. Little by little, they saw the direct result of the work, some even beginning to joke among each other as they picked up litter and rubbish from months ago.

After thirty minutes, the gang members were all tired and sweating profusely, staining the armpits and back of their shirts. Yet they were not angry at all at Kyle, instead feeling good about the place being cleaned up.

They stood in a loose group, marvelling at the transformation of the common area from a literal trash heap to a functioning room, furniture no longer haphazard and wildly placed. Even the trash and litter on the floor and the bulky heaps of broken metal were all nicely aligned to one corner.

“Holy shit, have you ever seen the common area look like this before? I didn’t even know it could look like this.” They murmured among each other for a minute, admiring the work they’d done. Ulon had never done anything like this before, and suddenly Kyle did not seem like such a bad leader after all. They knew they would have never cleaned up the place if it were not for his orders.

“Every day.” Kyle suddenly spoke, causing the gang members to turn around and face him.

“Every day, I will come into the common area. If it does not even look remotely like this, Damian will be responsible. You will all report to me in this manner, standing in a row every morning at the crack of dawn, understood?”

“Yes sir!” The gang members were much more receptive now to Kyle, after witnessing the good results of their work.

“The structure of membership is now redefined. All of you are associates, except Damian who will act as both underboss and acting captain from now on. Through the training and a vetting process, you will then be inducted in as ‘vipers’, proper members. Work hard.”

Damian’s face glowed tremendously, knowing how big it was to be declared as the underboss, the effective second-in-command. Ulon had never allowed anyone to be the underboss in his entire reign.

The gang members, now associates, were also slightly excited about receiving training. None of them wanted to remain weak and dishevelled like they were under Ulon, or be as dumb as the brave gang member who was still knocked out unconsciously, stacked along with the trash pile. Already among them, there were some bets on who could become a viper first.

Kyle beckoned for Damian and Keith to follow him, returning to the office. “Do you understand now?”

Damian nodded vigorously. “You provided seemingly meaningless orders, but all the small little tasks eventually became something great. It instils into them a simple idea: ‘ if I listen, good things will happen.’. The membership hierarchy is great as well.”

“Not as eloquent as I would put it, but yes. All tasks I provide will point towards a greater goal or objective. Moving on, the physical training regime shall be done in this manner, with the objective of strengthening their overall physical capabilities first and foremost. Write down what I am about to say.”

Keith nodded, sitting at Kyle’s desk and scribbling down whatever Kyle dictated. Some of the words flew way over his head and had to be replaced with something similar. Soon, the training regime was completed on parchment, with Damian going over it once.

Damian’s eyes bulged as he continued reading each line. “This… this is madness! No human can exercise this long without assistance! How can we possibly complete this?”

“You will.” Kyle retrieved the dozen Stamina Recovery potions he bought in from Haui’s shop, placing them on the table.

[SYSTEM MESSAGE] Item [Stamina Recovery Potion (Basic)] Restores a moderate amount of stamina Recommended Dosage: A bottle for an adult human male every eight hours Ingredients: Poair Leaves, ???, Water Cooldown: Thirty Seconds

M.G.Driver
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