Chapter 9:

The Fool (3)

An Identity Beyond Self

"He lost..." Dexter's statement did nothing to break the unbearable silence engulfing his comrades.

Only one person gradually regained their composure someone, then asked in anxiety:

"Fauna, is Master still alive...?" The primate held hope that the monocle girl wouldn't disappoint him.

"...No." She turned her head, unable to watch as the butler smashed some furniture nearby in fury.

They knew how he felt, so they weren't able to stop him. Fauna herself barely keeping it together.

It was in their time of despair that the cyan-haired guard spoke again, this time with some vigour:

"He ain't dead yet." His bold statement might have contradicted the girl he liked, but no one argued.

The man was birthed from Simon's 'Soul'. His form of connection with their Master was the most ethereal and mysterious. If he said the fallen hero was alive, then that meant there was still hope.

"...Negative. Scanning of brainwaves has shown no fluctuations. This state is worse than a deep slumber. It means our Master's brain functions aren't even strong enough to control his organs." It was Sistine who debunked his theory outright.

"She's right... He isn't breathing anymore." Fauna could tell since vital organs were in her jurisdiction.

"Arnold, you should be able to tell that he hasn't kicked the bucket yet." He spoke to the berserk monkey, which allowed the ape to calm down. A complicated expression appeared on his face...

"Master is currently feeling emptiness."

"That's still a 'feeling'. This means he still has the capacity for emotions." The man tried persuading.

But Arnold shook his head...

"Lingering feelings tend to stay on the body for a few days. It takes time for them to disperse."

"You've forgotten one thing."

"Which is...?"

"What 'Gifts' does he have?" This question created an atmosphere filled with optimistic discussions.

"Ascertained reasoning... Affirmed status... The existence of a contradiction has been discovered."

"What's Sistine trying to say?" The monocle girl didn't understand. They weren't making sense.

"So that's the case…!" The primate butler sighed in relief. He seemed to have understood something from the cyan-haired guard's attitude. Though to be clear on their conclusion, he explained to her:

"Master has the Gifts of 'Life', 'Destruction', 'Creation', and the 'Sword'. Although his Gift of Creation, Sword, and Life has been weakened after that 'miracle', they still exist within him.

Dexter being able to confidently say Master is still must be because his Soul hasn't dispersed. This means he's currently in a 'Fake Death' state." His words gave her hope, but she looked at Sistine.

"How high is the probability of saving him?" The AI on the computer flashed with data before replying:

"Statistics cannot be measured accurately. If we do nothing, current chances of survival are still 0% without change. It is confirmed from the voice on the Wind Fang's receiver that the Seventh Retainer is on Earth. You all are well aware of her power."

The rest of them shivered in fright...!

"Impossible!" Arnold was becoming livid. He looked at the digital maid and asked intimidatingly:

"Didn't you say the wormhole was too small? We all thought only pawns could be sent here currently..."

"The enemy must have bypassed the restrictions somehow. Scanners can't find a Retainer-level presence anywhere nearby." It was only now did the primate realised they had acted too late.

The primate realised that while they had been lazing around, the Seventh Retainer of the Galaxy Dragon had already made preparations. He then looked at Sistine's screen to see the data she brought up regarding their current adversary:

{Beast Name: Vera Mononoke

Status: Archdevil Representative of Sloth

Gender: Female

Species: Some kind of humanoid jellyfish.

Age: ???

Details: Former wife of the Galaxy Dragon, Former wife of Third Retainer who represents Gluttony, and new wife of Archdevil representative of Apathy. She also possibly had adult relationships with other Archdevils. Is the current Fifth Retainer's mother.

Abilities: Has been seen controlling electricity and flames. It is rumoured she has the protection of the Wrath Archdevil, partially sharing his power. Had lost her power of prophesies after losing her eyes.

Grudges: Master has slain her children. Also had one of her eyes literally stolen by him. It isn't possible to negotiate with her whatsoever.} This last sentence made Arnold massage his temples.

He felt a migraine...

"...So we can't negotiate."

"Affirmative..." Sistine's digital avatar nodded.

"What do you guys think?" The butler asked the opinion of the rest. This was a pressing issue...

"I'm sure the reason his body is being transported is so they could remove what's left of his immortality. If we don't stop her now, Master's life will be extinguished." Fauna got their attention.

"So can you do anything to help? Maybe if you start up his heart somehow, he'd be able to escape." The monocle girl shook her head to Dexter's words. This wasn't so simple.

"He's still being watched. The moment we bring him back to life, they will discover him. Also, they'll continue to kill him again unless we do something about his lack of strength." This response made the primate butler's mouth twitch by reflex.

He disagreed:

"What was the point in that 'Power' you gave him then?" The ginger frowned deeply at this inquiry.

Fauna couldn't stand his insinuation...

"I'm not the one who decides his magic. None of us could have improved its quality. Although we can give him great treasures, there's nothing we can do if the person using it is incompetent as a Master."

"You dare to rebel?!" An overwhelming presence released from the ape and created a miniature earthquake. Even with the monocle girl's immense strength, she couldn't help falling to her knees.

"...Sorry. It was just a slip of tongue." Cold sweat dripped from her. She apologised to him sincerely.

The primate didn't seem to forgive her though...

"Enough!" With a wave of energy, Dexter quickly interfered and held the weakened girl in his arms.

Two figures, one glowing cyan while the other glowing a magnificently bright shade of red. Both looked at each other. A mechanical arm could be heard moving before it patted Arnold's shoulder.

"Watch your words next time..." Holding back his fury, the butler turned his head with self-restraint.

Dexter wanting them to scold their Master was tolerable only because he was born closer to Simon's very being. Since Fauna was merely born from his body, the primate looked down on her.

It was only after remembering Sistine wasn't that different as an Artificial Intelligence born from the mind that he calmed himself. This kind of clear discrimination was worthless between them...

"How long until you can connect with him?" He asked the robot hopefully, only to be disappointed:

"There's still a few months." Of course, this was too late. Their Master would be long gone by then.

The four of them thought hard and discussed different angles they could potentially save him from certain demise. There was some creative solutions amongst the things they put forward.

Since Sistine could recently gain strong influence over the Internet, she could use it for distractions.

However, her hacking ability wasn't strong enough to do anything outrageous enough to save him if the Nine Fangs went after him. In fact, their main obstacles were these assassins sent to kill Simon.

Among the different plans, Fauna using her ability to mess with Simon's body was also rejected.

Their Master could barely stay healthy from drinking liquified 'Malice' thanks to the Creation God's great Gift to him. Adding mutations into the mix would only turn him into a kind of 'berserker'.

The primate was sure of this. After all, unholy energy of the 'Grand Essence' left behind was connected to him... along with the alter ego. He tried communicating with it, but there wasn't any answer back. It felt like the Kill Switch ignored him.

Simon's mental state was too complicated to interfere with, so he couldn't activate the Kill Switch himself. Their Master had already denied any sort of help whatsoever from the Kill Switch.

Even now, they still respected his opinion.

It was only after a bit did Arnold propose a solution that changed the atmosphere of their discussion:

"We can use his neighbour."

"You mean his 'grandson'."

"They aren't blood related." The primate gazed coldly at the naive monocle girl before him.

"If our Master's safety is top priority, then the manipulation of a minor figure is acceptable."

"Sistine, are you taking his side?!" Fauna felt a sense of betrayal as the maid turned her screen.

"We should take our time to-"

"How long do you think Master can hold out?" This question intercepted Dexter, making him hesitate.

"...But that youth is weak. Plus, we aren't even connected to him. What if he dies?" The cyan-haired guard found a way to reply after a few moments of silence. His answer was reasonable.

"That's right! Master wouldn't want this!" Even without being connected to Simon's heart, she knew that old drunkard would've been extremely against bringing his beloved 'grandson' into this.

"What other option do we have?!" Arnold's roar shut the ginger-haired girl's mouth tightly.

She felt indignation despite hearing the truth...

"..." She opened her mouth, but could even reply.

"Well?!" His oppressive attitude left her in tears.

"Please stop bullying her. She spoke as part of our Master's will." Dexter put her down and glared at the butler in the eyes. The great primate snorted arrogantly, unlike what his appearance suggested.

This was unlike the monkey's previous attitude...

"Even if it's Master, he has to accept our actions are for his safety. Remember: Our creator comes first in every situation whether he himself likes it or not. I'll take responsibility for the action of putting his new 'family' in danger." He spoke with resolve.

"Arnold..." The cyan-haired man sighed. He knew nothing he said could persuade this monkey.

Compared to the rest of them, the ape had been the one who took care of their Master the most.

It was safe to say that they understood that he dedicated his entire being to serve Simon Stuman.

Emotions were the hardest to explain with mere words, so it had always been a burden for the monkey to interact with the other servants. He may seem mild and agreeable in front of the once great Master they served, but this was the 'true' him.

Wild and ferocious like an animal... Someone who would claw the throat of anyone who cursed their creator. In fact, you could even consider him a zealot who went too extreme in his thinking.

Despite what Sistine said, even she was against bringing a normal person into this high-stake situation. However, she was a being made of logic and reason before someone who knew kindness.

If it can save their beloved Master, then...

"I agree on this plan of action."


"Are you going to help our creator or not?" Arnold stood between Dexter and the digital maid firmly.

The primate's question rattled him...

"I... Well..."

"Have recognition of your choices." The digital maid's words only served to pressure him.

"That's enough." Fauna got up and patted him on his shoulder. He felt a change in her attitude as she continued: "They're right. For us, his safety comes before his desires. The choice to make is obvious."

"Then you will assist us?"

"I will, but I want you to know one thing."

"What...?" Judging from her expression, Arnold could tell she wasn't going to speak nonsense.

Her resolution seemed firm…

"Will you also be able to take responsibility of that child's death 'breaks' our Master further?"

"That's...!" He didn't know how to reply, so he quickly held his tongue and decided to stay silent.

"Our Master had already considered suicide." The butler's eyes reddened after hearing her words.

Of course, the primate knew this without her speaking. He had felt Simon's chaotic spiral of emotions and despair firsthand. Without that teen named Jordan, their Master's would lose his reason to live. It made his decision a big contradiction.

Getting him involved essentially risked the life of their Master. Wasn't this what he wanted to avoid?

He couldn't deny the validity of her words.

"I'll protect him earnestly." Hearing the butler say this out loud himself, Fauna finally stood down.

They all were finally in a unified agreement...

Arnold signed. Even though he was the most loyal amongst them, he inwardly criticised his Master.

Simon wasn't alone anymore, nor did his actions only affect himself. For him him to not understand this, the primate butler could only lovingly curse his great master as 'The Fool who knew nothing'.

Not a Hero, not a King, not a Warrior, and especially not a Soldier. Just the biggest Fool.

This was how their rescue operation started...