"Before returning to home and resuming my life as Zed... there are two things I absolutely must do," Kiba mumbled as he turned his face towards the western direction of Delta City where the slums were located..
In the year 1900, the era of mutants started with the arrival of strange meteorites from outer space. A few decades later, the World Government was established by the combined efforts of Nine Great Aristocratic Families, making Earth into a world without any territorial boundaries or at least on the surface. The rise of mutants also lead to technological advancement and an increase in standard of living. Alas, not everyone benefited from this new era...
The new era was crueler than the previous era as far as the people at the bottom of society were concerned. At the beginning of the new era, the governments around the world started taking poor people for experiments as they tried to study the mutation around the world. Conditions of poor only got worse as the entire resources were spent on decoding the secrets of Evolution with them being forced to become a slave for the powerful organizations.
With the formation of World Government in the year 1935 did stop the atrocities on poor in the open, the bitter fact was the World Government too have sacrificed millions of people in their experiments. It was in the guise of employment overseas, riots, epidemics or mining incidents which would be used to justify the mass disappearance of people.
The remaining weak and poor were forced to live in the slums with next to zero support from World Government or any other organizations. On paper, the World Government has given billions of dollars for the benefit of slums but in reality, those funds were embezzled by the corrupted officers and regional overlords. The slums were basically the lands forsaken by the gods...
Once such slum is Western Slum of Delta City.
The slum occupied an area of some 200 sq. km in the gigantic Delta City. While it was called a ’slum’ the truth was that it wasn’t overpopulated as the definition of the word slum says.
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The slum was congested with damaged housing units, ruined buildings, and ravaged factories but not people.
The population was rather sparse compared to other regions of Delta City. Even the composition of the people here was different.
Most people in the slum were starved and barely hanging to their life. The streets and buildings didn’t lack people who have died due to malnutrition or starvation. The corpses of young children dying from cold could also be seen.
There were no laws or orders in the slum. At least not the ones observed in the other part of the city.
In the slum, a starved wouldn’t hesitate to murder someone for a piece of bread or a slice of fruit. Men will sell away their wives and daughters happily if it can bring food to their tables.
Dignity? Self-respect? Can they satisfy a hunger stomach? If not, then those things were useless.
But were slums truly hell for everyone? The answer is there are people who almost lived the life of kings in the slum! They are known as the overlord of the slum.
They are who truly rules over the slum with everyone in the slum forced to kneel before them including the mutants.
In the slum, it doesn’t matter if you are a poor or a mutant. In fact, having special abilities make it even worse.
People with special abilities need a lot of nutrients. The cells of mutants have evolved and so has the need for food. But the slum can’t even provide food for normal humans so how can it provide highly nutritious food for mutants? The pain of starvation is a lot more painful in case of mutants.
Even if you have a great ability, you couldn’t use it unless you have the energy. The energy which only food can provide. And what food resources exist in the slums are controlled by the overlords; forcing both ordinary humans and mutants to follow the commands of overlords. This creates a vicious cycle impossible to break.
The overlords involve themselves in multiple businesses: mining, organ harvesting, brothels, begging, etc.
It was the nighttime around 2 am.
A woman and her two young children were sleeping on the floor of a ruined building.
During the party in White Angel Corporation, Kiba has gone to the balcony from where he has seen the visions of the slum. He has given a deep sigh after seeing the actions of this woman. She is the same woman who had split the little food she has into two for her children while she slept empty stomach.
Back then Kiba has remarked, "Behind the red doors of rich, the meat and wine go to waste; while out on the road lie the frozen bones of the poor."
It was also at that moment, Agatha has arrived next to him and seen his sad expression. She has commented on how Kiba always carries a sad expression after enjoying the rich extravagance and the pleasures of the flesh.
A white light flashed on the terrace of a building opposite to the one occupied by the woman and her two children.
"I always use to think my sadness for the people of the slum was just an emotional imbalance caused by the after-effects of sex. But perhaps it was never so simple," Kiba muttered to himself as he gazed at the woman and her two children," Maybe Lisa wasn’t entirely wrong when she told me that I have done nothing even though I possess such power..."
He waved his right hand towards the floor where the woman and her children were sleeping.
The woman waked up with fright. She removed a curved knife from her torn clothes and aimed it in front of her even though she could see nothing due to the lack of light.
"Don’t move or I will kill you!" The woman shouted but there was no response. Her body was trembling but she continued to put a brave front.
After a minute of no sound, the woman thought she was being overcautious for nothing. She has assumed the overlord has sent someone to kidnap her for selling to her brothel and using her children in organ harvesting or begging.
The woman cleared her mind and lightened a candle adjacent to her. She wanted to confirm what waked her up.
"Wh-what is that?" The woman was startled when she saw a large box a few meters away from her.
"Was it the sound of this box’s crashing which waked me up?"
She moved closer to it with the knife aimed in her front. She was a mutant but lack of food has made it impossible for her to use her abilities. The only thing she could rely on is the curved knife.
"Ahh!" She didn’t dare believe the markings on the box. The markings denoted the box contained food!
She started opening the box while trying to not over excite herself.
"Calm down, woman. It is too good to be true," The woman said to herself but she was anything but calm. She thought it was someone’s idea of a joke or a way to knock her out, but inside her, there was a hope! Hope that the box contained the food.
Her eyes were filled with tears after seeing the content of the box. There were over 100 cans of food items in the box along with thousands of dollars in cash!
"High-grade food items specialized for mutants!" The woman couldn’t believe the text on the food cans. She nervously opened one food can and her spirits lifted as she smelled the aroma.
"They are genuine!" She felt on her knees crying in excitement. The woman did have suspicions before but after smelling the aroma she thought no one will waste so many efforts for a prank.
"Who would give them to me? Or maybe someone has stored it here temporarily, and later on will come back for the food and money? If then me and my children..."
When the woman thought of this she quickly let go of the food cans. She quickly started wrapping up the box afraid the owner of the box might catch her.
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In the slum, she was at the bottom of the food chain and she knew she didn’t stand a chance against someone who can afford such high-quality food.
A sigh suddenly sounded inside her mind startling her. She checked around but there was no one besides her children. They were still in deep sleep as if under a magic spell.
"The food and money are yours and yours alone," A strange voice ringed inside her mind," Neither do you have to pay me now or in future in any form."
The woman wasn’t able to judge if the voice belonged to a male or a female, but she was able to feel the voice carried no nefarious thoughts against her.
"Why?" The woman couldn’t understand what has she done for deserving such a good fortune.
"You have proved that true unconditional love is possible in this cruel world."
"Thank you," Her eyes were filled with tears as she kneeled towards the box. But there were no more words from the mysterious voice.
After a few minutes, the woman stood up and started hiding the box behind under rubble in an adjacent room.
"The benefactor might not come for the food but if others came to know, especially the overlords..."
In the slum, people murder for a single piece of bread much less the highly nutritious food items she had.
Her food cans were nothing less than a treasure and the woman knew it very well. The woman was fully aware of the consequences if the secret was leaked.
The woman was shocked as she heard a horrifying scream from outside. She ran to the window with a candle in her hand.
The woman felt chill down her spine when she saw the condition of the person who has just screamed.
That man has his body severed in two parts from the torso. The man’s eyes were wide open in shock as if he couldn’t believe how he died so suddenly.
"Isn’t that Beggar Liu?" The woman was terrified but also pleasantly surprised.
Beggar Liu has always taken the shares of the food she earned from her activities out there. It was due to him that she would often stay hungry in the past since not paying him would result in death. Beggar Liu carried connections with the overlords which made slum dwellers with no choice but to obey.
"AHHHHH!" Multiple screams were released one after another.
The woman saw a red light, in the shape of a sword, passing through the slum. Heart wrecking shrieks would follow from the areas where the light passed by.
"I am an overlord----"
"Don’t kill me! I am working on mayor’s pay---"
"Colonel James wou---"
"My boss is---"
There were beggings and warnings but the red light killed its targets before the words were complete. The targets used their mutant abilities and modern weapons, but they were completely useless in front of the sword-shaped red light which sliced them into two.
The slum reeked of blood...
Everyone in the slum waked from their sleep hearing the heart-wrenching screams from their oppressors. Tonight the people of slum cried with joy as the slum overlords died.
They didn’t know who killed their oppressors or why but to them it didn’t matter. They were free which was enough for them.
Kiba was standing on the terrace of a building gazing at the carnage caused by his powers. He has a smile on his face seeing the expression of joy on the faces of slum dwellers.
"I never thought the joy of others could make me happy."
Afterward, he lost himself in his thoughts as to why he did what he did.
"Is this because I realized my responsibilities after hearing Lisa’s words? Or is this because I no longer want to feel guilty by doing nothing for those suffering what I have suffered?"
"No! I have no responsibilities to this world! My powers are mine alone! I risked my life to gain the Cosmic Spark!"
"Similarly, why should I feel guilty and sad for others? The world didn’t help me when I was down so I don’t owe the world anything!"
"I am no hero. If I am honest, my actions in Kiba’s form have been more of a villain’s. But yet my actions of tonight..."
After a few minutes, Kiba started laughing loudly when he thought he has found his answer.
"Earlier I used to think I am neither a saint nor a devil. But I was wrong. I am a true devil! I just didn’t know what being a true devil meant! A true devil is not some evil entity as I originally believed!"
The actions of a saint are guided by the moral convictions of the world. A saint would never do anything which the society believes is morally wrong no matter how right it is! The thoughts of saints are molded by the concept of right and wrong of others instead of themselves!
On the other hand, a true devil is someone who does what his heart desires unafraid of the labels of good and evil! A true devil does what he pleases regardless whether it is good or evil from the perspective of the world! The labels of others don’t matter to the devil as long as it pleases him!
"I do things which give me happiness regardless if they are considered as good or evil!"
"Making love with the beauties give me happiness, and so does stealing others’ wives! Losing myself in the vanity gives me unrivaled joy! The same applies to the life I live as Zed!"
"I helped that woman because it brought a smile to my face! And not because it was the right thing to do!"
"I killed the overlords and their subordinates because it gave me happiness to see the slum dwellers no longer being oppressed! And not because they were abusing their powers by harassing the weak!"
A white light surrounded Kiba as he disappeared from the slum but his final words remained: "I am a devil who does what my heart pleases!"
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