The Zenith System

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The Zenith System

By: Jaq Drop OngoingUrban/Realistic

Language: English
16

Chapters: 32 views: 356

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Zack's life is teetering on the edge, stuck in a relentless cycle of disappointment and setbacks. But a twist of fate plunges him into an extraordinary adventure and he unlocks his very own Zenith System -- his hidden weapon that can push him upwards into society, showing those who hurt and betrayed him that he is not just a normal convenience store worker. With each mission completed, Zack's power and ability rise. As he becomes more adept at using the system, Zack finds himself entangled in a web of alliances and adversaries. It turns out that he is NOT the only Zenith System user, and that the world he entered is not as alluring as he initially thought. With danger in every corner; the payment that the Zenith System demands; and managing his inner demons -- it is taking his all NOT to fall into the same dark abyss that the current users have found themselves in.

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Latest Chapter
32 chapters
Chapter 001
Zack, a 25-year-old college dropout, is behind the counter of the local convenience store in downtown Oakbridge. The neon sign above the entrance flickered, casting shadows on the cracked pavement: "QuickFix." It is a name that has been seared into his memory, and one that reminded him of his unrealized dreams every day."Hey, loser!" taunts a college bully named Derek as he saunters into the store, snapping Zack out of his reverie. Derek will often drop by just to mock and ridicule him. He will pick up random items from the shelves and pretend to purchase them, only to throw them back, creating more work for Zack."Thanks for the mess," Zack says sarcastically, biting back his frustration.It isn't just this jerk who treated him this way; it seems like everyone in his life sees him as a failure. His parents never fail to remind him of how he had squandered his potential and wasted their money by dropping out of college. His friends, all successful in their own ways, will jokingly cal
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Chapter 002
The key turns with a soft click, and the apartment door swings inward. Celeste's silhouette fills the hallway and Zack can't help but look at his older cousin.Celeste, Zack's 28-year-old cousin, lives with him in their apartment. She is a lead manager in an international company and has just returned from her shift. Her eyes are ringed with exhaustion.She must have felt his stare because she raises her head and greets, "Evening, Zack.""Hey, Celeste. Rough day?"She gives a half-shrug, her gaze skirting away from him. "Isn't it always?"She then drops her keys into a bowl by the door, shedding her blazer and placing it on the back of the couch before sitting beside him."Want to talk about it?" Zack ventures, already knowing the answer."Maybe some other time," she deflects.She unbuttons the top of her shirt and closes her eyes, as if her everyday is as hard as his day is."By the way, Mason is asking if he can visit, after all his exams," he tentatively asks."Hmmm," she mutters.
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Chapter 003
The morning sun filters through the curtains and into the apartment. Zack stretches and rubs the sleep from his eyes. He had a wonderful dream — about being a hero and saving a princess from peril.As he stumbles towards the kitchen, he finds Celeste standing by the open door which is leading to the balcony. Her gaze is lost in the distance. He’s been living with her for a few years, so he has become used to this side of her.“Morning, Celeste,” he mumbles, pouring himself a cup of coffee.Celeste’s on mid-shift, and sometimes she works from home, especially when she is in these spells.“You’re up early,” he adds, although he’s not sure if she can hear him.“Hmmm,” she mumbles as she sips on her cup of coffee. “What’s for breakfast?” she asks.“Eggs maybe? What do you want?”“I don’t know,” she replies, her voice becoming distant and hollow.“There are still some vegetables here.”“You can decide. I will eat anything.”He glances at her. Her shoulders are tense and there is a strain i
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Chapter 004
As Zack waits for customers, his eyes land on the screen of a muted television mounted in the corner. A news anchor is interviewing a man who’d risen from obscurity to tech stardom. The man sits confidently in a plush armchair, his posture exuding success and power. His designer suit fit his toned frame perfectly, and his expensive watch glints in the studio lights. His face is smooth and clean-shaven, with perfect teeth and a strong jawline. He looks like the epitome of a successful man. Zack moves to it and turns the volume up. The man speaks with a clear and articulate voice, his words precise and calculated. He speaks of terms like “disruptive technology” and “market domination” with ease. The interviewer’s questions are met with quick responses and occasional bursts of laughter, showcasing the man’s charismatic personality. In the background, there is the sound of applause from an audience, indicating the level of admiration for this rising tech star. “Oh, that’s Mr. Leon. He
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Chapter 005
Zack is in the kitchen, chopping vegetables for dinner while Celeste works on her laptop at the dining table. The aroma of sizzling stir-fry fills the air, making his stomach growl in anticipation.Suddenly, there’s a knock on the door. Zack looks up from his cutting board and glances at the wall clock — it’s only 7:30. Mason is early.But before he can take a towel to wipe his hands, Celeste stands up and says, “It’s just Mason, right? I will get it.”He hears her footsteps approaching the door. He then hears Mason’s charming voice greeting Celeste as she opens the door. “Hey beautiful,” he says with a smile.Zack rolls his eyes and focuses on tossing the vegetables in the pan. He can hear them talking in the living room, but Celeste is deadpan, making it clear that she’s not interested in him.Mason saunters into the kitchen, carrying a few grocery bags, while Celeste returns to her work.“Hey, man!” he greets with a wide smile. “I brought some snacks and beers. Some food for breakf
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Chapter 006
Zack scans another bag of off-brand potato chips, while his mind is on Mason’s mood last night and the following morning.“Two seventy-nine,” Zack murmurs, without looking up at the customer.There is music of some famous artist singing in the background. The song might be well-received by QuickFix customers, but not him. It sounds like an ode while he is on his way to purgatory.He groans, shaking his head with all his thoughts.The chime above QuickFix’s entrance resounds again and Zack raises his head towards it. Four men saunter in and he feels anxious at the way they look. He glances at the back of the shop and realizes that the manager is out to have a quick supply run.“Hello there, cashier boy,” the largest of them greets. He has a grin that doesn’t reach his cold eyes. He is also sporting a scar that runs like a fault line across his cheek.“Good day! Welcome to QuickFix! How can I help you today?” he asks, glancing at his companions who are less intimidating but are also exu
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Chapter 007
“You are a fucking disgrace!” Zack’s boss scolds him the day after the robbing event. “Can’t you even handle a few lowlifes without making a mess of my store!?!” Zack purses his lips and wishes that his boss’ voice cannot be heard outside. Thankfully, when he came home last night, Celeste was still out and when he went to work, she was still sleeping. Hopefully, that setup will continue until his wounds heal. “Just one more mistake, and I will fire you!” Zack nods, checking his emotions, and ensures that he won’t make that mistake very soon. “For all these damages, I will take them off your salary!” Zack raises his head at him. He can’t do that! He needs the money for his sisters’ educational needs. That’s the reason he stopped studying. If they deduct every damage that happens in the store from his salary, then he will never earn a dime! Dropping out of college will be useless! “But sir, my monthly salary cannot even cover for all the damages yesterday.” “Then I will take it f
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Chapter 008
Suddenly, the door of the storeroom opens and Mr. Thompson gets out. “Hey, Zack, I will be back in an hour,” he informs. “Don’t make any mistake again!” Zack nods and watches as Mr. Thompson leaves the store. “Damn, your boss is still so antsy. You should look for a new job.” “As if it’s easy to find a job with my qualifications.” As Sophia makes her way back to the counter with a basket full of items, Zack can’t help but look at her. She really looks perfect, beautiful and curvaceous. Her face is like that of an angel. “Hey guys,” Sophia greets them with a smile as she places the items on the counter. “What are you talking about?” “What do you think of our campus?” Mason asks, trying to steer the conversation away from sensitive topics. “It’s amazing,” Sophia gushes. “The buildings are becoming so modern and the atmosphere feels so alive.” “I’m glad you are enjoying it,” Zack says politely while ringing up her purchases. Mason places his arms on Sophia’s shoulders and invite
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Chapter 009
Zack stands outside the store, still reeling from an encounter with Mason and Sophia. He can’t believe what he just witnessed — his ex-crush openly admitting to cheating on his boyfriend and showing no remorse for it. And Mason, who has already given up on Celeste and is now fucking a cheater and a whore.His mind is racing with questions. How can Mason do this? Is he really that desperate for Celeste’s attention?But as Zack continues to mull over the situation, a loud commotion from inside the storage room snaps him back to reality. He rushes in, only to see a furious Mr. Thompson.“What’s going on?” he asks breathlessly.“You think I won’t find out?!” he yells at Zack. “You think you can get away with this?!”Zack’s heart drops. He looks around frantically, trying to figure out what he is angry about. Did he forget to arrange something? Any missing stocks, perhaps?“What is it?” Zack asks, his voice trembling.Mr. Thompson storms towards him, his face red with anger and disappointm
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Chapter 010
It is a hot day as Zack lies on his bed and stares at the ceiling, doing and thinking nothing. Suddenly, his phone buzzes. He automatically picks it up, thinking that it’s Mason, and starts the call. “Mason?” “Brother? Zack?” she starts, her voice trembling. It is his sister, Trina. “Hi, Trina, how are you?” he asks. “Zack, thank god! I finally reached you!” He scratches his head. For the past few days, he is not answering any calls from them. He knows what they want — money. And it is something he doesn’t have. He doesn’t even know how to survive the following weeks. He tried to look for work, but none were asking him to come for an interview. “Zack, are you still there?” she asks. “Yes, I am still here.” “My tuition is due, and if it’s unpaid, I won’t be able to finish and will go back for another year.” His gaze sweeps across his tiny room. What can he even do? He can’t even fend for himself. “The fees are due next week, Zack,” she continues, her voice filled with desperat
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