An Identity Beyond Self
"I-it... It wasn't my fault...!" After gradually waking up, he refused to accept responsibility for his actions. The first thing he did after waking up was take a whiff of the alcohol he always slept with.
The memories of his dream started to fade away...
In a fit of hysteria, he slaughtered both Ariadne and the Minotaur without any hint of hesitation.
An unprecedented action that caused the new powers emerging inside his body become his own.
Although this was a good thing, the small amount of 'sentience' they had vanished. This made it so the energy naturally tried flowing through his crippled body, which as said before: Nothing could be done once these inner energies manifested.
Like a human sieve, the magical energy of holy and demonic natures leaked out of his body after waking up momentarily. Jordan noticed nothing despite this. There was no way he could have.
He hadn't learnt anything about 'Qi' or 'Mana', so he continued typing on the computer ignorantly...
A strange phenomenon occurred...
'Magical Energy' was omnipotent. Although there were different Attributes that split up the concepts this power into different flavours, the energy itself worked on principles universal to all users of it.
The first principle was imagination, the second was willpower, the third was the medium used as a catalyst, and the fourth was 'belief'. Without all of these 'pillars' present, nothing could be conjured.
Simon was unaware of this... He didn't know the one of the reasons he was unable to access his power was because of one of the principles: The geezer had gradually forgotten about his 'beliefs'.
There was no willpower in his Life Energy…
When he was summoned as a Hero, the drive to save the world and courage he had gave life to his magical energy. When he was a Beast King, the indulgence and pride he had also gave him power.
But now... the old drunkard believed in nothing.
Without 'belief', he was nothing special.
He had lost his qualifications to use strong energy techniques. A husk of a once mighty individual…
By killing the Minotaur and Ariadne, his rejection of good and evil essentially took away his last chance to regain at least a portion of his strength. The innate power that had slept with him dissipated...
Even his four servants, who were monitoring his condition and dreams, also felt disappointed in his choice. His immature and psychopathic actions caused the only hope he had left to break down.
"Master has ruined everything!" Fauna screamed in anguish. The other three servants beyond the spacetime of Earth were silent. They sat in the displaced Akashic Library with solemn expressions.
"Since Plan A is impossible, we need to come up with a Plan B." The primate named Arnold didn't dwell on his Master's actions too much. The digital maid on the computer screen next to him agreed.
The only one who didn't was Dexter. That cyan-haired guard backed up the ginger monocle girl:
"Shouldn't we reproach him?"
"Are you planning to rebel?" The glowing red eyes of the monkey butler was chill-inducing to all.
"...I'm not, but loyalty doesn't mean blind faith. Are you still certain he has a plan for all of this?"
"Whether he has a plan or not doesn't matter. Our job is only to support him. Nothing more, nothing less." As always, the primate's loyalty was so strong that it was a bit suffocating the rest of them.
On one hand they admired him, but on the other hand... They couldn't agree with his opinions.
"Our Master's current probability of survival is currently 0%. Hesitation won't change the conclusion." The others didn't know whose side Sistine was on, but they still accepted her words.
"...Okay. Then what's Plan B?" Fauna asked for the next objective. Empowering Simon wouldn't work.
"How long until we make contact with him?" Arnold first decided to ask about their current progress.
"We aren't anywhere close yet. We won't be able to personally make contact with him personally."
"..." The monkey's face darkened. The computer next him didn't have any better news as she spoke:
"That's not all of it. My scanners have detected a wormhole being made using the Galaxy Dragon's power. The only good news is that it currently isn't big enough to fit a Sin Archdevil. Wait...!" There was a sudden beeping before the maid continued:
"I've detected multiple reading similar to the Archdevils. They're getting closer to Master's current location. It's advised to inform the two of the impending danger." Sistine looked at Fauna.
"...Why me?!" The monocle girl suddenly found having to deal with the geezer to be a bother.
"You are the only one who can support him. And if you can, please do something about his energy. It may not be possible for others, you were once Master's 'Flesh'. Your current connection with his body should help." The butler tried persuading her.
"Even if I control that energy, I can't do anything about his inability to actually hold it. Master had already used up his 'miracle' on that child he's always with." The monocle girl shook her head.
"I'm sure it's you, then you'll find another way."
"But-" Before she could refuse, Dexter interrupted her by patting her on the shoulder. Their joint gazes made her remember that she was literally the only one who could contact him at the moment.
"Just try your best." The cyan-haired guard gave a thumbs up. His attitude made her sigh helplessly.
"...Fine. But don't say I didn't warn you." She turned to find a quiet place to sit and closed her eyes.
She connected to the body of Simon before trying to infiltrate his dreams again. What she saw inside was a scene she didn't expect. Rather than a world of peaceful dreams, there was only slaughter everywhere. The stench of blood was in the air...
This didn't seem to be a nightmare, but she could feel the deep anarchic desire to destroy things starting to float up to his subconscious mind. The dreamworld didn't seem to reflect reality perfectly.
Instead, the scenery around her seemed to be a blend of different 'battlefield' he had lived in.
There was part of a high school building with many delinquents, a jungle with various Beasts, a tavern with criminals, calamities, etc. The only thing that connected them was that they were all being beaten by the embodiment of human resentment.
Despite these things having happened a long time ago, Simon still hadn't let go of his many furies.
Despite all them being different levels in terms of strength, the resentful individual going around slaughtering everyone didn't care. To him, it was as if everyone was the same. His rage was 'impartial'.
It was only after listening closely did she hear him murmuring: "All of you don't deserve to live!"
The expression on his face was one she had never seen before. Fauna never thought her coldhearted Master would ever be able to make such a vivid smile of ecstasy. He looked like he enjoyed killing...
It was only after slaughtering ever single individual in his dream did he seem 'refreshed' again. Her eyes glanced underneath him to see that Ariadne and her Minotaur half-brother was among the bodies. His hands punched a hole in their bodies.
'Carnage'... That word described this dream well...
"Trespasser..." When his eyes suddenly shifted to the only person left, Simon spoke out these words.
The monocle girl felt her hairs stand on end...!
His enormous amount of killing intent hadn't faded even after all this time. He was still sinking into it.
Perhaps this was the curse of killing too many. He may be driven to want a peaceful life, but Fauna was well-aware that he'd become a psychopath if she just left him alone. He wasn't in a good state.
Perhaps it was their fault. If they hadn't awakened the dormant power within him, then perhaps he wouldn't have lost his mind in killing. The impulses he gained from years of being a 'Hero' remained.
No, it was better to call him a 'slaughterer' now...
"Wait! I'm here to help you!"
"Screw off!" He didn't seem to want to listen. His body dashed towards her before throwing a fist.
A hook arched towards her after he flung it using his body's whole weight. The momentum of the fist was fast and powerful, but it'd take more than this before he'd be able to take someone like her down.
The sound of impact resounded on her chest, and the fail-looking girl before the 'Slaughterer' curved.
He smiled... until he realised she wasn't damaged.
Simon wanted to react, but the monocle girl quickly grabbed his hand. It was only after getting a good look at her face did he recognise her. Then a surge of confusion hit his heart since he wasn't lucid yet.
"It's you...?" This time, the old drunkard sounded more like himself. The eeriness in his voice faded.
When he finally took the time to look around, he was repulsed by the scenery. Although he still remembered this was his dream, he couldn't understand why he'd suddenly dreamt of this...
"This is THEIR fault...!" He pointed at Ariadne and the Minotaur among the corpses in the vicinity.
"They tried forcing me to kill people! I wasn't the one who killed them! It's their own fault!" Hearing his irresponsible ravings, even Fauna started to get annoyed at him. However, she knew anything said in admonishment would only torment the geezer.
Rather than acting like his mother, it was better to try and help him come to a better answer on his own. That's why she decided to instead try to give him some 'hints' about the past he had forgotten.
"Master..." She called out again, finally getting his attention before continuing: "...They say that those who hunts monsters must take care. If they aren't careful, they could become one themselves."
She spoke while letting go of his hand, causing his face to pale at the implications of her words.
"I'm not a monster!"
"I'm not a bad person!"
"Shhh, I- no, 'we' understand... We've all watched you throughout your life. There may be a time you were selfish and indulgent, but the you right now are trying to change. 'We' can feel it." She slowly approached him before embracing him tightly.
He seemed to lose his energy as he faltered. His head rested on her chest. Fauna kept him standing on the ground with her pure strength, keeping him within her arms. It was an inescapable embrace.
However, it was soothing nevertheless. It had been a long time since ANYONE intimately hugged him like this. Even though he was in a dream, her touch made him feel sleepier. It was a strange feeling...
"You don't... think I'm lying to you?"
"..." She smiled. Her eyes spoke in the belief she had in him. Tears and snot started to stain the clothes on her chest, but she didn't seem any way repulsed by him. Probably because of their 'bond'.
"You don't think I'm too far gone...?" Since he was trying to avoid eye-contact after speaking that, the monocle girl straightened him up. She made him stand on his own and made him look into her eyes.
"I believe you can change." She had already seen it himself. Her eyes glanced at the figure behind.
Whether worse or better, he could definitely change. She was absolutely certain of this...!
The Simon Stuman of right now was different from that 'Kill Switch' watching from atop of the giant mountain of corpses. Fauna didn't need to read minds to know what the alter ego was up to.
She knew both of these split egos were technically her 'Master', that's why he revealed himself.
The 'Kill Switch' wanted her to make a choice.
She could either put her faith in the pathetic Master in front her, or the one she fully trusted in the past. Was the current Simon even worth the effort? Wouldn't it be easier to have him replaced?
"You... really believe in me?" Not knowing about the figure behind him, the geezer asked again.
It was the first time in a long while anyone had ever truly acknowledged him. Before, there wasn't anyone who could truly say they 'believed in him'. It made a multitude of emotions rise in his heart...
His heart started pumping, and he couldn't help but become doubtful if she was telling the truth.
"I'm not the only one who believes in you. Some might not voice it, but there's a reason they put up with you rather than doing the bare minimum." Her words made him remember a certain teenager.
'Doing the bare minimum'... Now that he thought about it… Why had that youth stayed with him?
He had already paid him back enough when it came to saving his life. Simon knew that others would have cut off an annoying old man like him off already. His attitude wasn't really appealing...
Always drunk, never listening, immature, and a true 'waste of human life'. He believed even evil people were less worthless than he was right now. Still, the teen he considered his 'grandson' still stayed...
What was the point…?
"Do you really need me to answer that?" Even if he didn't voice it, Fauna knew exactly what he was thinking. A strong feeling of gratitude surged through the old drunkard's heart as he responded:
"Thank you." No words could better encapsulate his feelings. The obvious and the hidden ones too.
The Kill Switch sighed upon seeing her answer...
Her smile made it obvious what decision she had made, and the ego showed his sincerity. Before he vanished again, he flicked his fingers. The scenery of the dreamworld changed along with the sound.
Simon felt the deep malice he was feeling slowly vanishing. It was as if a weight was lifted from his heart. Whether this was his own efforts or the influence of the Kill Switch was unknown to Fauna.
Still, she decided to believe in this Master of hers...
He was immature, chaotic, and sometimes even a bit psychotic, but she wasn't afraid anymore.
With courage, they could both move forward!
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