blood splatter across the locker doors

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[Q&Q]

Qynka slowly uncurls herself and raises her head to look around. She sees her 3 attacks unconscious on the ground, with a small girl standing over them. She has long black hair and a fitted DemonRealm bodysuit in charcoal. She has pure white orbs for eyes, and black makeup that radiates out from each one like an exploding star.

The girl reaches out her hand to Qynka. "Come with me if you want to maintain the sanctity of your brand."

Qynka instinctively points her screen at this girl to see what her deal is. Said girl immediately smacks her hand away.

"ARE YOU CRAZY PUT THAT DOWN you're going to get us all killed. Don't take your screen out unless your life depends on it. You can't trust the network here; the Underclass spent all summer embedding pack reroutes in the blockchain. You use your screen and at best they'll use it to track you, or, much more likely, lock you out of it. Or worse. Last season I saw a kid's screen blow up in his hand, took us arm off at the elbow. It was the most horrifying thing I've ever seen and I was on two seasons of PotatoGirl. Now let's freaking go already."

The girl extends her hand but Qynka hesitates.

"My name is Isabella_the_Ronin," she says, her frustration more than clear. "I live in the Todrick Hall, I have 40k followers, and right now I'm the only reason you're alive. Last chance to leave. Underclass always travel in packs, I assure you they have friends en route to finish this job."

Qynka pauses. No idea what to do but it's not like she has infinite options. "OK," she says. Isabella helps her to her feet and they quickly head off, out of the lobby and into the Upperclass halls, which show signs of a recently-finished battle. There's smoke in the air, broken glass on the floor, blood splatter across the locker doors and ceilings.

"What's your actual deal," Isabella says, as they pass a body lying slumped in a classroom doorway. "Stopping in the lobby? Do you *want to get murdered? No judgment if you do."

"I thought the lobby was neutral territory!" Qynka says.

"Neutral territory is exactly where you don't want to be! Don't you know how High/Low works???"

"Ummm," Qynka says.

[HOW HIGH/LOW HIGH WORKS]

High/Low is two completely separate and unequal schools mashed on top of each other. One school, High, is for the Upperclass. They have bathroom attendants. They eat meals, with flavors, on actual plates. They have teachers who actually care about learning and about their students as whole people. They have a gym which includes gym equipment. Access to comprehensive digital libraries. A spa where you can get LED micro-facial wraps and mineral salt infusions. An aroma lounge. A fairly poppin' black ops craft room. It's great. Technically it's the best, for school.

The other side, Low, is for the Underclass. Their school is one giant piece of sh*t. Bathrooms where the plumbing isn't even connected to anything. No hiring criteria for the teachers. A cafeteria that's a glorified protein line, when it even has protein. Really spotty wifi, barely any connectivity. Always kind of smells like someone's butt is directly in front of your face. It's far and away the worst school in the city.

At least that's how it is when a new season starts. High/Low is a perpetual battle for resources and territory. The Highs have to defend their school, and the Lows are determined to take as much of it away from them as possible. It isn't just the students involved, the entire staff and administration of both schools participate. It's a war zone; the most difficult and violent school in the city.

Other schools will occasionally do crossover events with each other. There've been really entertaining scary musical crossover episodes when students from Eternal High visit the Academy. Students from both Eternal High and the Academy sometimes find themselves involved in complex romantic plots with students at KMS. But none of the other three schools ever has anything to do with High/Low. It's too dangerous. There's too much at risk. Too much to lose.

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