Chapter 1 - Jasper Stone
It’s early in the morning, 06:00 am on a Saturday, punches and kicks were heard throughout the gym. A few were sparring and others were beating the punching bags in front of them. Among them was a young guy who’s talents in Martial Arts were levels above the rest.
He’s become so good that when he sparred, he sparred against five other martial artists at the same time. You could call him a genius. He’s a college senior and was at the top of his class when it comes to studies. He had to be or else he’d be living on the streets trying to survive each day. Without his academic genius’ he never would’ve gotten a scholarship at one of the most prestigious schools in Manila, “De La Salle University”.
“Jasper, you’re on a roll today as well. Tell me, would you be interested to join the Filipino MMA tournament? Test your limits against the very best the nation can offer.” The coach asked.
“Do I need to Sensei? It’s a waste of time don’t you think?” Jasper replied, he didn’t think there was any use to show off his Martial Arts prowess against other people as he wanted to focus more on studies and work on achieving a better life financially.
Despite being a genius in both academics and martial arts, Jasper Stone was very poor, he has lived in poverty his entire life along with his mother. He’s originally from Cavite, a province in the Philippines, he had to live in a dorm offered by the university while his mom stayed in his hometown. Because of his financial situation, he’d had to go through scrutiny, prejudice and overall bad treatment from people around him.
Very few would dare to be around him, and those who did were his closest friends who saw him for him and not as a poor kid that was a menace to society.
“Why not? You’ve got God given talents my son, I’ve seen your talents, you know your talent. What use is there if you aren’t gonna use it? And I know that if anyone can win that tournament, that surely would be you or Christopher. You aren’t scared of a challenge aren’t you? Besides there’s a 5,000 pesos price reward for the champion.” The coach said and challenged Jasper in order to get him to agree, he knew all about Jasper’s financial problems and he also knew that as soon as Jasper heard that he could get easy money for something he liked to do, he knew that Jasper would bite at the chance instantly.
“So Christopher is participating huh? And a reward of 5,000 pesos as well? I guess you can count me in Sensei.” Jasper replied after a couple minutes of pondering. Jasper was gonna participate for the money in order to help himself and his mother back at home. Usually when Jasper earns money he gives half of it to his mother and 5,000 pesos was not something he could get this easily. 2,500 pesos for himself would help him get through at least a month.
The coach then handed Jasper a piece of paper where the location and date of when and where the event was gonna be held. “I’ve already signed you up so don’t worry about signing up for the event just go there and do your best.”
Jasper was shocked that his coach already signed him up, he realized that the coach was not gonna take no as an answer, Jasper couldn’t help but laugh and thanked the coach and promised that he was gonna win the whole thing.
“Hey hey hey, you really think you’re gonna win the tournament? You’ll have to get through me first, I’m winning that thing of course” A voice came from outside the gym.
It was Christopher Murphy who just came to the gym, he then walked towards Jasper and they both made their handshake and started laughing. Christopher was Jasper’s best friend and a little friendly rivalry was always welcome to the both of them.
“Haha i’d like to see that, how about it, wanna go for a spar right now?” Jasper asked
“Count me in, you didn’t even need to ask me.” Christopher accepted the challenge happily.
Christopher is the only one in the gym who can spar with Jasper one on one, although he was not as good as Jasper, he was more experienced and wasn’t that far off in terms of skill considering that he’s been doing martial arts way longer than Jasper has, Jasper started going to this gym at the beginning of his freshman year in College.
The two monsters of the “Dojo de Dragons”, that’s what these two were called by the other members of the club. Despite this, this club wasn’t really known and because of that, most people other than the members in the club didn’t really know how good Jasper and Christopher was at fighting nor did they really fight other people outside of the club, they liked to avoid trouble.
Aside from being Jasper’s best friend, Christopher was also Jasper’s classmate and roommate. Christopher is from an average family and was one of the few people who liked Jasper for who he really is.
As the two friends finished their training session, they both decided to go out and eat lunch.
They decided to go to the SM Mall, Jasper at this point was wearing old clothes with holes and a pair of old slippers while Christopher had a normal outfit for an average citizen. When they came to the mall, they got stopped at the entrance by a security guard.
“No homeless allowed, please step out.” The security guard told Jasper.
Jasper frowned at the security guard and said “I’m not homeless, I’m here to eat with my friend.”
“Yeah, we’re here to eat sir, we’ve got money to buy food just let us in. He’s a college senior at De La Salle and definitely not homeless.” Christopher jumped in and tried to defend Jasper.
“If he’s a college senior at De La Salle then I’m the president, get out of here, I don’t have time to deal with you guys.” the security guard replied and laughed mockingly at the two friends.
“Hey what the hell is your problem? Who are you to judge? We’re customers so you’ll have to let us in.” Christopher suddenly lashed out, he couldn’t take that his friend was getting humiliated by some mere security guard.
“Our malls are only for customers who can pay, judging by your friend’s appearance, he’s not one of those and you probably aren’t either considering that you’re hanging around with such a person. Now leave before I throw you out myself.” At this point the security guard was getting annoyed.
Seeing that the situation was getting heated between the two groups, the bystanders started to look at them weirdly and definitely looked disdainfully at Jasper because of how he looked at the moment. “Chris, it’s not worth it, let’s just eat some street food, they’re much more delicious than what the mall can offer anyway.” Jasper told Christopher and dragged him back to avoid trouble.
Christopher wanted to beat up the security guard at this point, but after Jasper told him to back off, he understood that there was no point in arguing nor beating up this security guard, they basically weren’t worth they’re time. It wasn’t worth getting locked up because of some rude security guard.
“Yeah listen to your friend punk, street foods are what you guys are worth and not anything higher than that.” Feeling as if he had won, the security guard continued to fuel the fire.
Christopher suddenly turned around and was about to throw a punch but the punch got blocked by Jasper and got told “Bro, I’m doing this for your own good, if you wanna fight someone, I’ll fight you right now in order to keep you out of trouble. Let’s just get out of here.” Jasper said angrily at Christopher.
The security guard who was watching this scene was shocked by what just happened, he saw Christopher turning around to punch him then suddenly Jasper turned into a black blur and disappeared then suddenly was in front of him blocking his friend’s punch. A sudden cold sweat ran through the guards head as he thought “Who are these people? That punch could’ve knocked me out, and this homeless guy just blocked it as if it was nothing.”
As the two friends left the security guard shocked, the two went to a nearby street food stall and ordered some barbecue. It’s one of the most delicious and common street foods in the Philippines. They enjoyed the food and started laughing at what just happened. Christopher suddenly said “Man, sometimes even I get surprised at what you can do, you suddenly blocked that punch like you were the Flash. What was the most scary was your aura after blocking it, it felt as if you were gonna kill me.”
“Haha, man I had to or else you and I would’ve gotten into trouble and we’re college students of De La Salle, if the word got out that we caused this kind of trouble, we’d be the ones running into a big trouble and I can’t afford that. That was one hell of a punch bro, I appreciate you defending me.” Jasper explained and thanked Christopher.
“No problem bro, I don’t even know why those people are so rude to you man, you haven’t done anything wrong against them.”
Jasper just shook his head and told Christopher to forget it and that he was used to it.
Christopher just remembered about his cousin’s dinner at the Two Seasons then asked Jasper if he wanted to go to the dinner with him. Jasper pondered for a moment before finally giving an answer, “You know that your cousin doesn’t like me right? But if she’s okay with me coming then I’ll come.”
“Oh come on bro, my cousin is just like that, don’t take it personally, she’s actually a good person. I’m sure she’s gonna be okay with it, just come with me it’ll be fun.” Christopher said
Jasper nodded his head and they both went their separate ways after saying goodbye to each other. Jasper decided to jog around the city before returning to the dorm. As he was on the way to his dorm, he suddenly got a call from an unknown number.
“Hello?” Jasper answered.
“Hello son.” A man’s voice said.
Stunned by what he just heard, Jasper couldn’t help but be silent. His dad was dead, why is someone calling him son?