5 Chapter Five-Bad Blood
Back in Wobbleton, Felix had finally found some peace and being a champion had brought in a lot of attention. However, he kept his feet on the on the ground and moved in with his aunt Catherina. Felix did a few interviews with the media, because of his fame his Journal account was crowded with friend requests, he had to decline a lot of them. He had started training his young cousin, Charles Sobek who was seven years old. Felix had used his fortunes he had made in the Sanshou and Lei Tai to revamp the kwoon.
The authorities left the whole family alone, despite Uncle Fred involvement in the Separatist Movement. Carl Sobek who himself was in the Separatist movement, was still suspicious. He reminded his son that his paranoia is what kept him off the radar of the authorities.
'We should have started training you when you were two,' said Felix, inspecting his little cousin who was in a horse stance. His feet were about two shoulders width apart; knees bent with his tail bone tucked in, squatting at a ninety-degree angle.
Charles was shaking and slowly coming up, but Felix would put his hand on his cousin's shoulders pushing him down back to the required position. He did that and fixed any other posture errors. 'Hey! Endure the pain!' he barked, Charles looked like he was in agony and four minutes of this hell had already passed with tears crawling out of his eyes. Felix wanted Charles to stay in the horse stance for the required minimum time of five minutes, but with ten seconds left his cousin shot up giving up within those lost seconds. 'Dammit! Charlie!' grunted Felix, sighing and shaking his head, he added, 'And wipe those tears.'
The arduous training took place in the kwoon, with a big painting portrait of Uncle Fred on top of the altar, which was at the centre. Positioned on top, he looked at them with his hawkish gaze and thick eyebrows.
Felix glanced at the painting, holding back his emotions and his tears that were about to wash his eyes. Training his cousin hard and the sudden glance at his uncle's portrait evoked dormant pain. Shrugging it off, he sighed and turned to Charles, 'Charlie you are doing well, next time give me five minutes…you were sooo close,' as he ended speaking, he gestured on the clock with his hand, showing how close Charles was to achieving the goal. Charles wiped the remainder of his tears as he obeyed his older cousin with a nod. 'Come here,' Felix spread his arms and his cousin rushed forth for a hug and Felix held him tight, lifting him up as Charles giggled.
'You guys having fun I see,' those words came from someone who had entered the kwoon, this person was a brunette whose hair was short. Her eyes where grey and her figure exceeded the fantasy of the average man on female beauty. This person was aunt Catherina. 'It is hell out here, wanna train?' Felix had put Charles down and his aunt responded to the question with a frown before answering, 'No thank you,' as she crossed her arms. Felix laughed lightly, 'Anyway we done aunty,' he said. 'Great, you guys can have some light snack just to let you know everything is ready for your uncle's funeral,' said Catherina, and for a few seconds, there was silence as each one took in another dose of the reality that Frederick Sobek had passed away. 'Anyway, see you guys in the house,' said Aunt Catherina as she broke the silence and strolled out the kwoon.
Frederick Sobek's body was cremated and the ashes were stored in a crimson urn with Daoist symbols and images of Daruma the founder of the Harmonious Fist. A Daoist priest blessed the urn
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before casting the ashes into the ocean. It was a small gathering of Carl Sobek, Felix, Aunt Catherina, Charles, Eddy and a few family friends. From afar watching the events was Silver Serpent, secretly invited by Carl.
There were two special guests also invited to the funeral, family from the Sobeks ancestral home, the Sol Islands. The two guests were, Kek Subek and the other was Kazak Subek. Kek was the father and Kazak the son, Kek was the brother of Carl and Frederick's grandfather. Therefore, he was Felix and Eddy's great grand uncle and Kazak was the grand uncle. They looked like they were in their fifties, but they were far older than that.
Kek had a thick long white beard, hazel eyes with epicanthic folds, with the trademark thick eye-brows of the Sobek's and the one very visible feature he shared with the likes of someone like Frederick Sobek. However, they were not black, but light skinned in comparison like milk with a hint of black coffee. Both men were bald and looked almost like identical twins except Kazak was completely bald, and very tall. Kek was short and sturdy. They both still carried muscles of athletic young men reaching their prime, it was their faces that showed the evidence that they were old men.
The original family surname was, Subek. Xavier Subek, Felix's great-grandfather and Kek's brother changed the name to Sobek upon arriving in the Sud Republic. The reason for the name change was to distinguish it from "Subek".
Xavier Subek was a rebel in the family and did not get along with his father, who had arranged for him to marry a young girl from another clan. But the stubborn Xavier who was older than Kek resisted. It ended in him fighting his father in a duel, which he lost, and he was banished; changing the family name was his act of defiance. Regardless, his father and Kek still kept contact later in the years, especially when Felix Senior, Frederick and Carl's father was born. He was Kazak's cousin and Felix's grandfather.
Kek and Kazak were different in skin tone and other features, compared to the family in the Sud Republic, due to Xavier Subek marrying a darker woman in the Sud Republic and his son followed suit.
The Sol Islands was the original home of the Harmonious fist and the home of its founder, the legendary semi-mythical figure, Daruma. Originally a warrior, he travelled the world and returned a holy man to the Sol Islands. There he shared his fighting art and philosophy to his wife's brother, his brother law Sung Subek. That is how the family came to inherit the art, fighting system and way of life.
Felix had not spoken to Eddy since they last fought, however, they had greeted each other with nods before the funeral and then kept their distances. Carl kept his poker face despite his suspicions on his nephew. He knew Eddy was behind the exposure of his brother, but what he did not know was he was also the murderer. After the funeral, there was a small gathering at Carl Sobek's house for tea, and the funeral was the first time Felix or Eddy had met their great and granduncle.
Kek Subek was quiet, not uttering a single word, it was his son that did all the talking. 'Lovely home you have Carl, lovely home,' said Kazak as he glanced around. Everybody was gathered at the pool dining table, enjoying some green tea which was being served by an old stocky lady, this was Mrs Wilkins. 'Thank you, uncle,' replied Carl. 'I have so many questions to ask you, I do not even know where to begin,' said an excited Felix, beaming at both his great and grand uncle with eyes of admiration. Both Kek and Kazak glanced at each other and laughed. 'Well, I am happy to finally meet the two of you. I am sure there is a lot you can teach me. Or take over where my father left off,' said Eddy. 'Yes, we have been talking about that father and I. Eddy you are very talented, your father always used to say, bless his soul,' said Grand-Uncle Kazak. Eddy smiled nervously and responded with a rapid, 'Thank you.' Then Grand Uncle Kazak continued as he turned to Felix, 'First I would like to congratulate you on becoming the new Lei Tai champion, my father thinks otherwise. For him, the Lei Tai is below a Subek.' He beamed at Felix and then glanced at Great Grand-Uncle Kek who grunted in disapproval. Grand Uncle Kazak laughed at this and then added, 'He still proud of you, of course, we would like to invite you to stay and train with us at the Sol Islands. Your uncle, my nephew recommended it.' Felix was boiling with excitement internally hearing the invitation but gaining some form of composure he beamed and said, 'thank you.' 'Someone will have to train Charlie though,' said Felix remembering his little cousin's training. 'I got it!' Carl quickly said. Felix nodded at his father who he knew had begun training seriously again in the Harmonious Fist, sparring with the housekeeper Mrs Wilkins.
Quietly listening to all of this and simmering in disapproval was Eddy, a sour look had painted itself on his face, and he broke his silence by making a scoffing sound and then he said, 'Again my late father has disappointed me by recommending Felix to go to the Sol Islands to train, I feel that I am a better candidate…' 'Edward!' interrupted Aunt Catherina, but Eddy ignored her and continued, 'We are martial artists, I think I should challenge him here right now! After all, Sobek or Subek, it was in the Sol Islands that the concept of the Lei Tai was conceived and exported to the world by Daruma…Did YOU EVEN KNOW THAT!' lashing out at Felix as he glared at him with disgust. Great Grand Uncle Kek was now amused as he smiled at the unfolding events. Felix could feel his blood rush as he masqueraded an air of calmness. 'Fine…let's do this,' he said springing up. Aunt Catherina just stared back in disagreement, she, however, knew this was the Sobek way, solving their differences with a duel; fighting was in their veins and in Eddy's case now part of his mentality.
Both Felix and Eddy walked away from the dining table as everybody peered at them, and it was Eddy who launched the first attack throwing a fury of punches. Missing his target as Felix evaded them, Eddy then threw a roundhouse kick to Felix's face that made him fall as he tried to evade it. Eddy then charged aggressively to end things, but Felix rolled back up to his feet. His cousin threw another savage combination, each punch expressing his hate. Felix deflected them and in a sudden Eddy felt a shocking sensation as he uncontrollably bounced up and down, landing a few meters away from Felix. He had struck Eddy with his palm, striking him on his chest. Eddy struggled to stand up, still feeling the effects and now panting heavily with his eyes wide open he through a fit growling angrily. 'You have lost,' said Great Grand Uncle Kek. 'Screw all of you! I am leaving!' yelled Eddy as he marched away. Aunt Catherina shook her head, as tears trickled down.
Felix looked unfazed by the events, but inside he felt a feeling of satisfaction, having defeated his cousin who had beaten him up months earlier before the Lei Tai. Great Grand Uncle Kek turned to Carl and said, 'I know what you know, but that boy is still family since he is part of the lineage. He has a tormented soul.' 'Yes Shirgung,' Carl replied nodding. Shirgung meant grandmaster, both Kek and Kazak where grandmasters to each Sobek or Subek relative that was born after them.
The Subeks had left a few days later and Felix was excited that he was going to join them. The Sol Islands was composed of sparsely populated islands, with one large island serving as the mainland, where the capital city was situated. It was known as Sol City; the islands had a population of about a million people. The islands were autonomous and did not belong to any of the other eight world nations. Throughout antiquity the island had always been independent, but when the Union of Nations was formed. The leaders of the islands and the unionist came to a deal. The island kept it militia (since it did not have a professional army, navy or air force) and that no union troops will be allowed in the islands. No Solese ever competed in the Lei Tai, those who did were the ones who had immigrated to the Sud Republic. The islands were situated in the Dragon Ocean, East of the Sud-Republic. In the times of the Sud Empire and prior, the Solese traded with the Southern States. The Solese were historically pirates or fishermen, that were fierce warriors who mostly fought each other or acted as mercenary forces in ancient times. They were the ones who aided the Southern States in ancient times when they fought the Fei Empire.
Somewhere in an undisclosed area in the EastSouth Union city of Easex, was Silver Serpent and James Stockhorn. They were in the room, accompanied by a doctor and his assistant who monitored Drasul Stockhorn, as he was immersed in a yellowish-brown liquid. Floating naked, inside the life tank; his mouth was covered by a tube, supplying him with oxygen. His eyes were closed as he slept in a deep coma.
'So, you say a man of the Slang Nyoka clan did this?' asked Silver Serpent. 'Yes, he seemed proficient in using the Serpent Style as well. It was not Loham Snake with its wider horse stance…Hell the bastard also had this weird super speed,' replied James. 'I doubt it was this assassin you call Medil that did this…I have fought five hundred duels, not losing a single of those battles, which is the reason for my infamous status. Regardless, there a few men that can be my equals or are even beyond me. They are some old lineage holders of the Harmonious Fist in the Sol Islands and there is this man! Right here in front of me the Dragon!' Done speaking Silver took a few steps forward watching Drasul and then he added, 'Superhuman…or moving like a blur is nothing! I am wondering if your uncle has ever beaten you to a pulp, so you can understand his ability. James chuckled and then asked as his face transformed to seriousness, 'Who then do you think did this?' 'Someone very powerful, an expert in Shi San Shi perhaps,' replied Silver holding his chin. 'A member of the Guan family? I doubt that' responded James. 'Well, you the detective…figure it out. But rule this Medil character out,' those were Silver's last words as he walked away. Looking at his uncle heal, James muttered the words, 'Heal up uncle…I will avenge you.'
The training in the Sol Islands was not a breeze, Felix had flown in and landed in hell. As soon as he had arrived so did his training. The horse stance in the islands for those who thought they had mastered it, was modified to make it more challenging. Heavy rings were added on each arm as they were stretched out forward, hands forming horizontal fists. He also had to hold different other postures and stay like that for hours. 'You must be able to hold your stance, relax into it and have no problem. The horse stance then becomes really meditative, do it till it has become second nature,' Grand Uncle Kazak would repeat, Felix hated those words and felt nothing but pain. An hour was fine, but to hold the positions for beyond four hours seemed mad. Great Grand Uncle Kek, held his horse stance for the whole day with no water and food, only eating the next day. Felix was amazed, and his teachers did not yet reveal their capabilities.
As Felix had expected the islands had a kind of rural feel, the had all the modern luxuries, but most of the old ways were kept. There was no kwoon, and Felix was trained in the open, sometimes they would hike up the mountains or train in the jungle.
The islands were surrounded by an armada of the Union Guard Navy, they mandate they said was to keep the peace and protect the Solese. Nevertheless, the inhabitants were very suspicious as they argued they could fend for themselves.
One evening after a gruelling training session, Felix rested by having a hot cup of tea, enjoying the cooler weather that the evening brought. Grand Uncle Kazak approached him and said, 'Grand
nephew, there is something I need to tell you.' 'What?' Felix immediately asked. 'A war is about to begin; do you think we going to let those ships surround our islands like that and do nothing!'
Grand Uncle Kazak's voice slowly was raised and then calmly dropped again as he continued, 'The Sol Islands is the heart of the Separatist movement, the Council of Masters does not just govern this small nation, we also govern the movement. I ask you to join us, not as another fighter to our cause. I ask you, Felix…to join us as it is your duty and, in your blood, to serve the cause.' Felix was overwhelmed and intimidated; having won the Lei Tai, his one main aim now was to defend it, but that was not the same. If war was brewing, then would they still be a Lei Tai? By the slip of his tongue, he said, 'Yes,' and then wondered if he would regret it. Grand Uncle Kazak beamed at Felix and said, 'Whatever you are feeling now is fear, the what ifs, well…fuck it. There is a great potential in you my boy…great potential. Dark times are coming, but dark times make brave men.'