An Identity Beyond Self
When Simon had his strength in combat, he felt like his whole identity became attached to it overtime.
Durability, super strength, etc...
Everything that made him proud to be who he was had been gradually lost over the last dozen years.
His blessings as a Hero among Humans, his entitlement as a King among Beasts… all of it faded with time. He was no longer able to do the things that were once muscle memory, and that was hard.
More difficult than one could possibly imagine…
There were times when he accidentally fell over while trying to use his super strength. Even going as far as to reach out his hand sometimes in an unconscious reflex to danger. Without magic, that response to danger nearly killed him many times.
When the old geezer returned to an ordinary life on Earth, he ended up appearing exactly when and where he died previously. Though that didn't make it any better. Especially since he'd 'reincarnated'.
The body he had wasn't the same as others...
Unfortunately, he'd also forgotten everything he'd once learnt and didn't even have a confirmed ID.
He was basically an illegal immigrant from the Other World. An outsider of his own homeland.
Simon couldn't regain his identity…
All he could do was forge a new identity through illegal means and try regaining his 'ordinary life'.
With the knowledge gone, the geezer failed many endeavours he went on, having no choice but to go looking for odd jobs. He was already pretty old even before he came back to live on Earth.
He gave up his identity as someone from the Other World and adopted his former name of 'Stuman'.
Life was good in the beginning of it...
The only thing that made his life HELL was the bloodlust he felt every now and again. Simon felt like his mind was going insane from the lack of bloodshed and adrenaline. He was drawn to battle.
No, it was more like fighting was his way of life and routine. Like a life living without eating any food…
That kind of life…
He was more of a Warrior who desired for blood rather than a 'Soldier'. Duty to the country never weighed him as much as his feelings. It was due to this his powers had been exploited many times.
Was this because of his life's adventures?
The 'Gifts' left behind in his broken body made him stronger than most, but he was still merely human.
He forged a new identity for himself after regaining his former life, which didn't require superpowers like in the Other World, but he was still unable to forget having powers, which deeply affected him.
Time may heal wounds, but it couldn't change people at their core. No amount of time of forcing himself into a role helped him. Even after being able to suppress his Kill Switch, he was the same.
There was once someone who called him out on his melancholy. He pointed at Simon and spoke:
"Are you satisfied with fake privileges and freedom?" This was the first time anyone asked this. The Capoeirista was someone he envied. A 'normal' man with a simple background and future.
"We may be temporary allies, but you have no right to judge me. My past is real complicated..."
"Regardless, you're free to live how you want."
"You're wrong..." As someone who was controlled by his current personality, the geezer knew better.
People who desired bloodshed like him had choices, but they weren't even exactly his own.
It was like being controlled by your instincts.
Even if you rationalise that your possibilities ARE endless, it won't change what needed to be done.
A killer will live like a killer, and there was no freedom in that. The world just worked that way.
He was sure of it...
Fate couldn't be changed. The past determined the future. Destiny was set in stone. There was no wa-
"Then be my friend."
"Excuse me...?" The old geezer got confused.
"If you can't pick how you live, then you can at least pick the people you hang around with."
"..." Simon looked at the hand stretched out to him silently, then... he shook it, albeit reluctantly.
This was the first time he ever opened his heart up after coming back from the Other World. Even though the Brazilian was a little strange, it didn't take long for them to hit it off like comrades.
On the lonely battlefield, Simon was like a god amongst men. He was like a demonic grim reaper.
To finally find a friend who could keep up with him motivated him a lot, but the time they spent together was cut short... He heard later on that the Capoeirista he befriended lost his legs to a mine.
Again... He was left alone with no one to interact with. However, he learned his lesson from this.
No one could keep up with him on the battlefield. It was the same when he was summoned as a Hero and the same on Earth. Trying to find people who understood him there wasn't possible whatsoever.
That's why he retired... As a tribute to the only friend he ever made, the old geezer even adopted his fighting style. He incorporated Capoeira into his martial arts, as well as the teaching he was given.
'Freedom'... This was what he sought for.
Fauna and his other servants also understood his mindset to a certain extent, but his attachment to liquor and bad habits was making things hard for him. Regardless, he was only one thing to them...
When he opened his eyes again, the hippie realised something odd had happened while he was asleep.
He felt like he had forgotten something. It was like a dream he had dissipated from his memories...
What's more... was his favourite brand of wine.
The bottle in his hand was infused with the conceptual energies of holy and evil, causing his attachment to drinking to manifest in a more literal form. The wine inside it also started to change.
It almost felt like the endless bloodlust and malice he had been cursed with over the years had imbued itself into the bottle forming in his hands. A strange expression suddenly appeared on his face.
'What the hell is this...?' Even with his memories of the Other World, this was the first time he'd ever seen two 'Attributes' blend together. The way it did so was a sacrilege to all that was good and evil...
He wasn't aware of how the bottle turned into a medium for his negativity. The endless amounts of resentments and regrets he felt were all instilled into the wine forming into the glowing red liquid.
Whether it was wine or not didn't seem to matter to Simon though. Even though his tolerance for alcohol was the worst, he somehow chugged down the contents of the bottle without getting more drunk than he already was. It made him curious.
He could feel a familiar burning sensation going down his throat, but the way it 'tainted' his body made it feel like the contents were a balance between Absolute Good and Absolute Evil.
A line of grey existing between the two…
Though only a little bit, the permanent damage done to his body was healed by the clear 'unholy' energy. He wasn't sure what to make of it. The world was a lot more forgiving than he thought.
"Can you hear me?!" Jordan suddenly woke him out of his daze. He seemed to be eating goodbye.
"I'm going home now. Take care of yourself. Just come next door or call if you need anything." The youth didn't seem to notice the changes that happened to the bottle in the geezer's hand.
Seeing the youth leave, Simon drunkenly stood up and realised his mind was in a strange state. It was like he was between drunken intoxication and lucidity. He couldn't quite understand it at all.
There was a strange peacefulness like the call of death in his heart, making him feel uncomfortable.
He could have stopped drinking right there and then to get rid of the discomfort, but his drinking obsession made it impossible for him to not have wine when it was already being held in his hand.
In the Akashic Library, the servants were nervous as they sensed one of the 'Nine Fangs' sent to assassinate their Master arrived on the scene. A familiar person Simon knew well entered boldly.
"It's you?" Even though the old drunkard couldn't remember the Brazilian's name, he remembered him to be the Capoeirista who he befriended once many years ago. Not noticing his door's broken lock, the old geezer called out and waved at him.
"That's me~ Hehe~" Seeing his former friend act in such a way, the Brazilian looked at him in pity.
"I don't know what you mean~ Bro, let's hang out again~ Just the two of us~ Like the old days~"
"I can't do that."
"Come on~ For old times sake…!"
"For old times sake, huh?"
"You really shouldn't have drank so much."
"Why no-?" Before he could finish, a foot smashed into his stomach and threw him across the room.
He felt his body collapse in pain after slamming into a wall. The kick was so swift and heavy that he even felt his organs crunch. Simon struggled to breath as his former friend responded calmly:
"Don't take this personally. Please don't try to resist. I'll make this painless." With clear pity in his eyes, the Capoeirista kicked again. This time, his foot acted like guillotine trying to chop him in half.
By some unknown miracle, Simon's survival instincts helped him dodge out of the way.
He recognised the coat of emerald energy covering the leg that struck him. This was 'Wind Mana'!
"How could you have that?!"
"Oh? You recognise this thing?" The former soldier was curious about it, but suppressed that feeling.
Even though Simon was strong, the Capoeira user had his speed multiplied several folds. Despite his efforts to block, the man trying to kill him effortlessly beat him up without any problems.
The Capoeirista's slightest movements were honed into perfection. His body was like a whirlwind.
Blood sprayed out of the old geezer's body...
He was chopped again and again by those unrealistically sharp attacks that surpassed human limits. This was the first time he felt like a truly feeble, normal 'old man' after returning to Earth.
A punch cracked the bones in his chest, ruthlessly puncturing a hole into his heart without hesitation.
When the man stopped, he looked at the corpse laying in front of him with clouded and empty eyes.
"I'm sorry..." The Capoeirista prayed to his God, a solemn look appeared on his face in melancholy.
He checked the pulse of the old geezer he was given as a target, just in case the man was still alive. After all, he wouldn't have been considered a demonic grim reaper if he was that easy to kill...
Using an ancient method, he put his hand on the old geezer's wrist and listened for a heartbeat.
It was extremely slow. However, a beating heart meant that Simon was still alive. The 'Fang' sent to kill Simon realised that though he punctured the old drunkard's heart, his vitality was way too high.
In fact, the geezer's life force was superhuman.
It closed up the finger-sized wound on his heart without him noticing. Thus, to make sure his efforts wouldn't be in vain, the Capoeirista sunk his hand into the large wound he made on Simon's chest.
With his ribs being beaten until it become fine white dust, his hand easily reached the old drunkard's heart. Once it did so, he held onto the vital organ really tightly and forced it to stay still.
The knocked out geezer tried struggling while spitting out blood, only to have his head held down.
No amount of struggling could save him...
A few long moments later, Simon finally stopped moving. His eyes returned to their lifeless appearance, but this time there was less cloudiness and more despair from facing death.
The Capoeirista checked his pulse again...
This time, Simon was truly dead. Nothing about him said otherwise. It made him sigh in relief.
"Didn't think it'd be this easy..." He murmured, as the entity who wanted him dead wasn't human.
His phone started ringing, letting him know that his employer wanted an update on the situation here.
"Target confirmed to be eliminated." After picking up the phone, he reported to the 'devil' honestly.
"...Are you absolutely sure?"
"His heart stopped beating. No signs of life can be sensed." The man replied to the woman talking on the other side. He took a picture and sent it to her to show evidence, then awaited her instructions.
"Strange..." The sweet voice on the other side didn't seem to believe it. She still seemed doubtful.
"Should I burn his body?"
"It's way too valuable. Bring it to me."
"I could bring you any valuables in his pockets."
"Don't. It has nothing to do with his belongings."
"That so...?" The Capoeirista noticed a strange bottle on the floor, but decided not to investigate it.
Since his employer didn't care about his former friend's belongings, he decided to leave them be.
Though his employer didn't acknowledge him.
"Wind Fang, just do as you're told. I also want to confirm if you murdered the right target or not."
"I'm not THAT stupid...! This may be my first time assassinating someone, but I executed this well."
"I will be the judge of that. If you don't want me to take away my 'gifts', pack up his body and leave." A cold voice drenched his professional mindset with reality. He realised that he was just a pawn.
One powerless against his employer…
When his legs had been healed in the hospital, he had already accepted that he'd probably be taken advantage of by this 'devil' woman. However, his desire to walk again won out over consequences.
Whatever, he'd just do as the woman instructed...
Just as he was about to hang up, the woman on the other side of the phone asked him quite creepily:
"Does that bastard have any family members?"
Hearing this eerie tone, Wind Fang hesitated. He thought of the youth who was living next door.
However, his reply came out confidently:
This was the last thing he could do for his now deceased friend. He didn't want someone to kill his old comrade's acquaintances in such a way. He'd rather just pretend that he didn't see anything...
"Okay... Just do your job then." The woman cut off the call, leaving Wind Fang to clean up the mess.
Getting out a black body bag, he put Simon inside before leaving the house silently. With his inhuman speed, it would take unusually sharp eyes to notice the old drunkard's front door had been broken.
Wind Fang suddenly vanished from the scene…
Since this was a joint mission, he quickly called in for assistance to help transport the body to her.
A professional 'Cleaner' erased their traces and the other 'Fangs' helped put the corpse in a little box.
With Simon having vanished, Jordan was left alone to wonder where their old drunkard ran off to.
He started searching wherever he could...!
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