Chapter 2:

The Fool (1)

An Identity Beyond Self

After the incident was sorted, Simon was brought back to rest at home. It was a 'normal' day…

When the drunkard focused on resting, you would almost think he had a healing factor backing him up or something. It only took a week for him to recover from injuries that usually took months.

At home, his neighbour came over, as usual, to check if he was still alive or not. Jordan was silently fiddling on a laptop. His 'grandfather' was laying down on the floor. He didn't seem to be doing anything important whike the youth job searched.

"Shouldn't you be resting?" The spec-y four-eyes didn't turn his head while asking that question.

"I am..." A deep voice resounded behind him. He faced upwards while looking chilled and relaxed.

"...You're not, and how long are you going to stay like this? I know I'm here, but STOP relying on me!"

"Says the guy who I tell NOT to come over."

"I.can' You're drunk."

"Who cares!? When am I NOT drunk?"

It was at this point Jordan turned his head to ask:

"Why do you sound sober...?" Even though Simon looked like he was influenced by alcohol, his sassy replies didn't exactly scream 'drunkard'. Maybe he just more sober than he usually is after taking a whiff of wine. His tolerance was the worst there is...

"That doesn't really matter, does it? Anyway, don't disturb me when I'm resting. You know I'm cranky."

"You're not even resting. Don't try tricking me again. I believed you before, but now I'm certain you're not doing what I said!" There was a fire in his eyes. His words were like a belly of flames.

The youth turned around to glare at the drunkard sharply. Only to be given the cold shoulder.

There was no pulling wool over his eyes.

"...Do you wanna be thrown out?" Ahem… The young man settled down, looking away when the hippie growled at him. The old man didn't look like he would listen to words with how he was acting.

He was actually right.

The man was training. Simon named this technique from another core Capoeira move: 'Negativa'!

After mixing it with his own preferences, he came up with his own universal exercise method that fused the many 'dabbled' techniques into a new essential skill of his fighting style: 'Negativa Core'.

He may look relaxed, but he was constantly moved his muscles, relaxing and tensing them to their fullest one at a time, all while holding his body up using just four points. His back actually wasn't touching the floor, and he was 'hovering' stably...

The purpose of this exercise was to train his core muscles. This, as well as his control of them.

The old drunkard's body was like a spring…

Each and every muscle fibre on his body was ready to explode out strength in any direction he chose.

This was also a method he chose specifically because his mind was too groggy to come up with a complex one.

Even though he acted as if the alcohol wasn't affecting him, the truth was that this prickly personality he had was just part of what his drunken self was like. That, and… Well…

His mind was too sharp…

Intoxication couldn't really disorientate a mind that had been innately strong from birth anyway.

Ironic, considering his low alcohol tolerance…

If he was sober, he wouldn't have even bothered talking to Jordan. And it was all due to the intense lamentations and regret he felt whenever he thought about the 'Qi Centre' he sacrificed...

That power he had gained. The internal energy within that could've helped him change his life.

Everything was gone because of Jordan…

…and because of his own indecisive heart.

He wanted to go back to that 'Other World' he had once been transported to in his youth at high school and in college. That fantasy world of magic and swords; where he had an influential status.

Now, that ambition would forever stay a dream.

He'd never be able to enjoy living as a hermit in the middle of nowhere. With luxurious win in hand.

However, he still wanted to continue training himself for a certain goal he wanted to accomplish.

Even though it should be impossible, he wanted to see if he would be able to create a Qi Centre again by practising 'External Arts'. The looked down on method of training for those Internal Martial Artists.

Despite how hard it was, even the drunker Simon Stuman wanted to regain even a bit of his original strength. As someone who regretted the unfulfilling life he'd lived in that 'Other World', the old man wanted to return and make things right again.

Maybe one day he would be able to regain his internal strength. It was all for the sake of going back to that world he's obsessed with... After he returned home from his epic journey, he realised that living on Earth was way too punishing.

But he'd rather not get into that…

The reason for coming here in the first place doesn't matter as much as going back, right?

Anyway, Simon didn't waste even a moment.

He shifted his 'stance' and leaned over to the side.

Just like how Tae Kwon Do had the Left Flamingo and Right Flamingo, this experienced veteran, who had taken on many fighters over the years, added flexibility into his martial arts. He shifted to Right Negativa while sometimes using Left Negativa.

Like a rocking boat, the pressure on his muscles were being distributed in a disorderly pattern.

Both of them served as more like practical fighting stances, unlike the more restrictive Negativa Core he always came right around back to. This was after all, a core technique of his unnamed fighting style he created solely for the sake of his desires.

"Why do you like Capoeira so much? You even based a lot of your best techniques off of it..." This question came out of nowhere, causing the old hippie to scratch his beard. Simon thought of how he'd answer that clearly despite his mindset.

He was still feeling groggy after all... At least, to the extent his strong mind was able to be influenced.

"I made a friend. One who was a Capoeirista."

"Surely, there's more than that."

"I copied his techniques because I liked them."


"...Let me show you why." He hesitated before shooting to his feet like there were springs on his hands. A rare smile appeared on his face once he stopped 'exercising' and instead chose to 'dance'.

Rather than Ginga Scream, he chose to showcase the regular 'Ginga' he saw back then. His eyes closed tight. He remembered how the man swung his body with the joy and freedom... All the chains that had been locking him down were all gone.

He wasn't restricted by music, traditions, or even Capoeira itself, and felt more like he was following his emotions letting it guide him. The 'Freedom' in each movement made the man feel more jovial.

It looked a little awkward, but he looked much more graceful than before. Even though what he was showing wasn't even his own 'Ginga'... It was just the expressions of another man replayed for just for convenience.

"So... you want to 'free yourself' of chains?"

"Maybe..." Simon shook his head and went back to training, which made Jordan bite on his lips.

He approached with his chair and saw down to look at the old man from above, then told him straight:

"The only person who can free you is yourself."

"You've become quite deep~"

"I'm serious!"

"So am I though...?" The geezer lifted both his brows, pretending he didn't know what he meant.

The drunkard didn't want to understand Jordan...

"...There's nothing chaining you, unlike the founders of Capoeira. You have complete freedom.

THEY had to pretend their friends weren't training practical combat techniques in the past. You have the freedom to do what you want, whenever you feel like it." The young man spoke from seriously.

"Then I want to go to another world."

"For what?"

"..." Simon felt a bit tongue-tied. He hadn't really thought of what he was going to do over there.

Dreams and other impractical stuff had been arising in his heart, but nothing that substantial.

The real reason he wanted to go was mostly since he felt the world 'bent' more easily to his will over there, but was that really the case? Would he really be anything if it weren't for the graces of others?

Especially without a convenient super item he was gifted like the last two times... He remembered the swords he had as a summoned Grand Hero in high school and a summoned Beast King in college...

Would he have attained anything without those legendary items? Would that 'Other World' be nice?

Somehow, that didn't seem likely...

"You have a goal, right?" His 'grandson' tried asking. He wanted to know more about the geezer.

"...Goals aren't needed for survival."

"But they ARE required to live as a human being. It won't do you any good to ignore finding one."

"Are you some preacher?"

"I can officially become one if you like."

"Don't. You'd look really dumb in that outfit."

"Now aren't you a bowl of sunshine~"

"Right right." Simon waved the four-eyes off. He was genuinely trying to think of a goal he could achieve in this world. Should he open a martial arts school? Maybe even try a dancing class or-

"Don't force yourself if you have nothing. It's not like you're young anymore. At least, if you don't have a goal, don't train for the sake of nothing. It's a waste of effort and gives no satisfaction." The youth then laughed, which put the old man at ease.

He's right. It wasn't like he was young. Maybe it was better to live in a relaxed manner. Not fighting.

And yet, he felt like he wasn't given any choices...

He stopped using Negativa Core properly lay down on the floor to relax his body, even controlling his own muscles so he'd 'melt' into the floor. He fell into his dreams, falling asleep without any care in the world... Unknowing of the dangers that await.

His muscles were relaxed to their extremes...

Little did he realise that the shadows of his past were inescapable. Nothing could stay peaceful.

The Capoeirista he was talking about didn't have a good end compared to Simon, who was able to escape the drawbacks of having stood out and a large, chaotic, and dreadful battlefield.

The now wheelchair-bound Brazilian, who was awaiting his death, made a deal with the devil.

His legs were brought back, and there was a picture in his hands which was who he needed to kill to keep them.

The image looked a lot like the old drunkard...

In another place separated from disconnected from space and outside of time was a single library.

There, a monkey-like butler, with features similar to a primate, watched the old man and neighbour duo. They were blissfully unaware of the higher forces that were moving without their knowledge.

"Sistine, what's the current situation?" The ape talked to the robot who had a computer screen for a head. On it was the image of the two people under his protection, which would surprise those who knew him as the type to be indifferent to most.

"The area around Master is clear from any signs of 'them'... Say, are you sure about this? I thought we were told to standby until Master's life is in serious danger...?" The artificial intelligence on the screen spoke. She was being animated like a café maid.

Comrades from the hippie's past searched widely...

The girl wasn't expecting him to response, and was surprised when he actually took the time to reply:

"It's better if we contact him now rather than later."

"Are you sure about this, Arnold?" Asked the guard in spotless armour, who was standing behind him.

"He's right. Not listening to Master is the worst!" A girl wearing a monocle beside the guard exclaimed.

"You should go have a bath for now before butting in." The primate held his nose. The strong odour of gunpowder and acid on the girl's clothes was really nauseating for someone with strong senses.

"Don't change the subject." The cyan-haired guard was ready to snap at the monkey in a butler outfit.

"The space around the Master is becoming more and more unstable anyway. At least, keeping ourselves a secret from him won't do him any good. If we don't help him, then he might die..." The look on Arnold's face was filled with sincerity.

This caused a silence between the four guardians who protected Simon, which lead to them voting.

"Who here doesn't want to meet Master early? If you're against this, raise your hand now." Sistine asked them seriously, her voice becoming more mechanical. She stopped acting like a 'Human'.

No one raised their hands…

"Motion carried. Arnold shall be in charge of opening a 'Spacial Door'. From there, I'll connect it straight to where they are now. Be careful, Master's enemies know who we are and the methods we use." The butler nodded before walking off.

As Sistine followed the monkey-like man, who had the highest loyalty and devotion out of all of them towards their 'Master'. The guard and monocle girl who were both left behind... felt a little awkward.

"Fauna." The guard finally broke the silence.

"You called?" The monocle girl titled her head.

"Do you think he'd be happy to see us?"

"Sorry... I seriously don't know. Master said his memories would fade, so... I'm sure we'll be fine."

"Will we...?"

"Come here~" She wrapped her arms around the cyan-haired guard and comforted him like a child.

The old drunkard on the screen looked a lot less scary than the person who used to order them around. He seemed a lot more lively and positive than before, which was why it broke the man's heart to think they'd interfere with his 'normal life'.

After all, their Master earned some rest...

"Dexter, we need to go help as well."

"Can't I keep hugging you?"

"Don't be a pervert! I have to go have a bath before we go as well." Fauna slapped the back of his head.

The cyan-haired guard let go of the ginger-haired inventor. She quickly left to find a gift for their 'first meeting'. He looked at her go up the stairs of this library closed off from reality, sighing deeply.

Their Master truly didn't seem like the amazing person who returned from the Other World anymore. He seemed more like your average old man without anything special about him to boot.

Dexter was also worried about the 'neighbour' the old man had been treating as a grandson since some time ago. If it weren't for that kid, their Master would've had an easier time surviving...

As long as that teen was alive, it would be difficult for their Master to regain the strength he needed to fight against those who were after his life. This made him think of 'accidentally' letting the kid die.

He hoped things wouldn't get hairy. The drunkard was unaware of his own karma from a distant past.

All they needed to do was convince him...