A letter from the Undercity: Keep your 'progress,' I'll take the Shimmer
Ever since Silco took over, the Undercity hasn't been the same..
Ever since Silco took over, the Undercity hasn't been the same. | Provided by Parkes Ousley

A letter from the Undercity: Keep your ‘progress,’ I’ll take the Shimmer

Piltover's not saving anyone down here
This article is over 2 years old and may contain outdated information

Riot Games’ Undercity Nights event in collaboration with Secret Cinema brings Piltover and the Undercity to life in an immersive interactive experience celebrating Act 3 of “Arcane.” Fans can check out more here or experience it for yourself after Nov. 21.

Recommended Videos

Happy Progress Day, I guess.

Another year gone by where Piltover’s finest eat their fill and bump glasses to a brighter future, meanwhile, we’re left with scraps.

How much longer are they gonna parade around with their new toys and gadgets, acting like they’re helping people for real? That Jayce, or whatever his name is, would rather keep spending his time as a tall, dark and handsome lapdog for the Council than do anything to actually help anyone who needs it; just look how he treats his partner Viktor. As long as those gates of his are up and running, and Piltover’s got the coin coming in to show for it, they couldn’t give two s***s about what happens to the rest of us.

If Piltover’s idea of progress means watching the Undercity cannibalize itself while they sleep tight in their nice beds, then those Topside bootlickers can keep it. 

The Last Drop from Piltover's Undercity.
The Last Drop from “Arcane.” | Provided by Parkes Ousley

I haven’t exactly been kicking it in The Lanes, but I’ve lived here long enough to call it home, long enough to see just how much Shimmer really moves through these streets every day — and what some people will do to get their hands on a drop of it, long enough to know that Marcus and his Enforcer dogs won’t be doing us any favors anytime soon. 

Things have changed down here now that Vander’s not around to help us anymore. The only one who’s gonna look out for me is me, and I’m tired of waiting around for Piltover’s crumbs. I’m done being a statistic, and I won’t be written off as a casualty in the Council’s quest for political gain.

So, recently, I decided to do something about it.

An honest living in Piltover’s Undercity

These days, trying to make an honest living in the Undercity isn’t only a near-impossible task, it’s also pure suicide. I used to be a musician, you know. A few sets here and there at Jericho’s or The Last Drop could keep me afloat before, but now, it just isn’t enough. Silco and his nation of Zaun have no room for buskers and beggars; it’s eat or be eaten out here. 

If you had to guess, how much do you think a few ounces of Shimmer goes for these days? A few hundred sounds reasonable, or maybe a couple stacks might make sense. But it’s really way more than that in the Undercity: If you’re holding, you’ve got power. It’s just the way things work. That stuff turns people into monsters, but better to live a monster than die never having lived at all. I wasn’t gonna get left behind. 

An actor's portrayal of Deckard from "Arcane" in Piltover's undercity.
An actor’s portrayal of Deckard from “Arcane.” | Provided by Parkes Ousley

I met Deckard after he bought me a drink one night. I was penniless and hungry. He was a scrappy-looking, lanky guy and I trusted him as far as I could throw him. But, anyone could tell he meant business by how he carried himself. He’s one of Silco’s right-hand men, which means he also has access to one of the largest stashes of Shimmer in the Undercity. I know these streets better than most, and he said I could work under him along with the rest of Silco’s goons if I could put that knowledge to good use. So, I took him up on it. 

Depends on who you ask, but Renni and her sludge-running goons own one of the biggest stashes of Shimmer out of anyone in the Undercity, well, second to Silco’s. They’re planning to revolt against him and take over the whole place, and while I couldn’t care less who wears the crown down here, if anyone had the power to take down the boss, it’d be them without a doubt. I knew I couldn’t let that happen if I wanted to make good on my deal with Deckard. 

An actor's portrayal of Renni from "Arcane".
An actor’s portrayal of Renni from “Arcane.” | Provided by Parkes Ousley

Naturally, I played nice with the sludge-runners for a bit. A guy named Flux seemed to be the one in charge of most of the operation, and it didn’t take much to get on his good side. A few small jobs here, a few deliveries there and boom: I got the password to their stash, no problem, no questions asked. Before I knew it, I had the route memorized and took gigs whenever I could. I gathered information and earned their trust, all the while making sure to swipe some Shimmer for Deckard’s crew.

My most recent job might’ve been the biggest yet. Got the tip from Flux after pretending to turn on Deckard and his crew; all I had to do was replace a few canisters of the purple stuff with duds — said I took them from his supply. It really was that easy. Anyway, you won’t believe the spot we lit up: F******* Jayce’s lab.

Wild, right?

Apparently, he was keeping some of those Hextech gems there; I heard just one of them could power a weapon strong enough to take over the whole Undercity. Doesn’t take a Chemtech scientist to put together how much Shimmer you could swipe with one of those. 

Jayce's lab is a thief's goldmine.
Jayce’s lab is a thief’s goldmine. | Provided by Parkes Ousley

For all he loves to run his mouth, I’ve gotta hand it to that Topsider, he’s not one of the world’s leading scientists for nothing. Every little thing in that lab was kept locked up by some weird puzzle or code. And then there’s those symbols. These weird shapes were all over everything from his notebooks to his chalkboard; must’ve been some kinda language or something, maybe a code. Either way, we couldn’t crack it. By the time we’d come close to making any sort of progress with it, we could hear the streets flooding with Enforcers. 

I bailed. Marked a vent I saw on the way in with a few loose bolts and was ready to use it as an escape if I needed. No way anybody saw my face.

Funny how those pigs will hunt us down like animals for crimes we wouldn’t need to commit if they really cared about “cleaning up” the Undercity. But they never cared about the people down here; that’s because they don’t see us as people. For every bad policy, every crooked Enforcer that gets swept under the rug, every new invention created for the “betterment of society,” there’s a poor kid in The Lanes who’s never known what it was like to have enough to eat; or a sick man slowly losing his humanity by self-medicating with Shimmer. Heimerdinger was on the Council longer than any of us have been alive and did nothing. How much longer are we supposed to sit tight for those pearl-clutchers to come save us from the problems they started?

I almost wish they caught me, even if just for a second, so those Enforcers could get a good look at what real struggle looks like. A look at the cycle of violence and suffering they’ve been complicit in for so long.

I’ve never felt more alive in my entire life. 

Image of Nick Ray
Nick Ray
Pop culture consumer and League of Legends thought-haver. Working on becoming a weirder person.