The next morning, a lot of people were gathered on the rooftop of a huge plaza located on the peak of a hill. Aside from the main family within the White family, a few other branches of the White family as well as some families attached to them had all come.
All of them never expected that Master White would hold this event to choose his successor, right after his only son had returned to the family.
“You’re becoming more and more daring now, Nash. You didn’t even bother to discuss such a big matter with me, and you went ahead and made the decision yourself. Do you hold no respect for me?”
On a gallery high above the square, Lily, who was seated next to Nash, rolled her eyes at her husband, huffing angrily.
“Heh. This was a last-minute decision. But as the head of the White family, I think I have some authority in this matter, especially since I’ve discussed it with plenty of elders already.”
Nash chuckled, speaking as though he was not the least bit angry.
“Hmph. I think you just don’t want Lance to become the successor. And you’ve been brainwashed by that vixen from the earthly realm. Are you thinking of surrendering the entire White family to the son you had with her?”
Lily harrumphed coldly and shot Nash a glare.
“Why are you still hung up over something that happened ages ago, Lily? Besides, I didn’t do anything that grieved you, right, besides that one thing? If you can accept Lizzie, why can’t you accept Joan and jackie? Can’t we just live together happily as one family?”
Nash frowned and stared at the woman before him. He realized that Lily had changed so much—she was not the woman he used to know. Back then, she was outspoken and abrasive and prevented Joan from marrying into the White family, but she would never hire hitmen to kill jackie and the others.
“Heh. Joan is a woman from the mortal realm. She’s not even a Chi practitioner-in-training. How can you tell me to accept her? Anyone who doesn’t know how to manipulate Chi is beneath us. I don’t want people talking behind your back, badmouthing you because you married a woman like that!
“Let’s say you married her and she gave you a son—would he have innate talent? Will he be as pure bred and as esteemed as us?”
Since Nash refused to spare her reputation, Lily did not hold back in demolishing him either. She stood up and spoke loudly.
“Hmph. jackie can give us a run for our money if I say so!”
Nash harrumphed coldly. He coughed after he said this. It was evident that his body was still weak.
“Him? Give us a run for our money? That brat is definitely a lot worse than my son. You’ll find out for yourself in a while!”
Lily sat down and spoke flippantly, “I’m telling you, Nash White, that Lance isn’t dead. He’s still alive. It doesn’t matter if you choose to hold this competition or whatnot, I’ll never acknowledge the winner of this heir selection. My son is the true successor, and he’s the one most suited for the role!”
“Whatever you say!”
Lily was refusing to budge, and Joan remained silent at the side. Nash unleashed his temper and said in a cold tone, “It doesn’t matter if you acknowledge this competition or not. All the members of the White family recognize it for what it is, and the elders all think that this is the fairest way to move forward. That itself is enough for me!”
After he said that, he cast his attention to a middle-aged woman who was garbed in a red dress. He nodded his head. “Let us begin!”
The Fourth Elder, clad in a red dress, was a beautiful woman of around forty years old. Despite being forty, her skin was still smooth and radiant, and she was extremely beautiful!
Chi practitioners had their bodies maintained by chi, and the aura surrounding them was out of the ordinary. Furthermore, they age slower than regular people. That was why a woman like that would immediately enamor plenty of men from the mortal realm if they saw her.
She leaped and drifted toward the fighting stage in the middle. “I am the Fourth Elder, Wendy,” she announced to everyone. “I was fairly late in joining the White family, and I am neither a member of the White nor Lagorio family. That’s why I think it’s only appropriate that I host this competition!”
Many of the elders could not help but smile when they heard this. It was true that if anyone else were chosen as the host, it was likely that they would be beating around the bush all day.
Although Wendy was an elder of the White family, she was not born into the family nor the Lagorio family. Nobody could speak against her if that was the case.
“As you can see, there are ten fighting stages set up here. The one on my far left is the first stage, counting all the way up to the tenth to my far right!”
Wendy gave a small smile and introduced everything, “There are a total of 230 people participating in this competition. And they’re all the younger members of the White family…”
“So many people!”
After he heard that, jackie could not help but be astonished. The younger generation had plenty of guts to come forth and participate in this competition. It was evident that they were grandmasters, at the very least. He still never expected there to be so many people.
Furthermore, all these people definitely descended from the main family, and this number did not include people from the White family’s branches as well as other families who answered to the White family.
The White family was truly an illustrious family that deserved its position as one of the Eight Shadow Families!
“The first competition is easy enough. We want to elect the top hundred candidates from it!”
Master Wendy smiled. “The rules are simple. If you’re pushed off the fighting stage, you’re out. We’ll do this melee until only a hundred people are left on the stage, and these hundred will move on to the next round!”
“What! It’s a melee!”
Some people were surprised when they heard this.
“Heh. There’s some element of luck to this round. Even if an individual is not very strong, they’ll still advance to the next round with a bit of luck and some determination!”
An old man could not help but smile.
“That’s right. There’s also the possibility of joining forces to kick someone stronger out, no?”
Another middle-aged man smiled as he spoke.
“Hah. This should be interesting. Luck is also a type of strength. It’ll be fun to see how this plays out!”
Someone’s lips curved into an amused smile.
“You’re still smiling? Your son may be at the beginning stage of the true god status. He is pretty strong, and he could have easily entered the top hundred, but what if his luck is so bad that he runs into someone else of his status or an advanced practitioner of the true god status? Heh. Then your son would be eliminated first. Wouldn’t that be too bad for him?”
The old man beside him could not help but say.
“No worries about that. The fun side of this competition is the participation! It doesn’t matter even if my son doesn’t emerge as the champion and clinch the title of the heir!”
The man from earlier smiled.
On the stage, Wendy was waiting for everyone to quiet down before speaking. “All right, all participants, please come to Stage Number One!”
In a flash, plenty of people leaped onto fighting stage number one.
Everyone exchanged looks between each other, every single one of them ready to wage war.
Some people who knew each other quite well clustered together, preparing to watch each other’s backs.
“This is a good chance. Let’s get that adopted son-in-law first. Hah. He’ll know the cruelty of the world once he’s eliminated in the first round!”
One of the participants from the White family looked at jackie from a distance, a hint of a smile on his lips.
He was a ninth-grade grandmaster. He was one of the top fighters among the younger generation of the White family.
After all, he would be considered as an eight or nine-star King of War outside, with his fighting prowess.
As he spoke, he set foot to go over to jackie’s side.
However, he only closed half of the distance when he stopped, shock painted all over his expression.
The two beauties of the White family, Beth, and Yule, were actually walking over to jackie.
“No way. Those two masters are going to help get rid of jackie? Seems like plenty of people are targeting him already. Heh! He sure has a big fat target on his back. Everybody wants to get rid of him first!”
The man flashed a bitter smile. it seemed that there were plenty of people who were thinking along his lines. He did not have to go over then. If he did, he might be eliminated by the two beautiful masters instead.
“Hah. Seems that jackie is in bad luck today. I wanted to go over and eliminate him first—tell him that he’s not good enough to become the heir to the White family. Never thought that someone would beat me to it!”
Martin burst out in laughter as he watched this from a distance.
“Heh. It’s obvious that he’s going to be eliminated soon. He’ll be the laughing stock of the century. Hah!”
Plenty of participants from the White family also stared at jackie, cold smiles on their lips.
“All right, since everyone is here, let the first round officially commence!”
The Fourth Elder smiled and flagged off the start of the competition.
“Hah. Get your a** off here!”
Some people had already set their eyes on their opponents. They all rushed toward various people once Wendy’s voice rang out.
The cacophony of various brawls immediately exploded at stage one. The fighting grew fiercer with every passing second.
A second-grade grandmaster was punched off the stage by a fifth-grade grandmaster.
“Ah. I’m no good. I can’t even get into the top hundred!”
The second-grade grandmaster immediately heaved a sigh and shook his head forlornly.
“Who are the two of you?”
jackie’s lips twisted into a bitter smile as he saw the two beauties before him. He did not know why they came to him.
“I’m here to protect you. But I’ve no idea why Yule is here!”
Beth said with a smile.
Beth folded her arms after she finished speaking, glancing toward Yule with a slight smile on her face.
Yule did not know whether to laugh or cry. She shrugged her shoulders. “I never thought that you would think the same as I did, Beth,” she said.
She paused here and looked at jackie before continuing, “I had no choice. This punk is my older brother, unfortunately. It’ll be embarrassing if he were to lose terribly and become the butt of everyone’s joke. Besides, my mother told me to take care of him. I have to think of some ways to prevent him from losing the first round. We’d never live it down otherwise!”
jackie did not know whether to laugh or cry when he heard the conversation between them. Still, warmth tinged his insides; these two young ladies were trying to look out for him.
In a split second, over 30 people had been shoved off the stage.
“Strange. Why aren’t those two liftings a finger?”
Someone realized that something was off. He could not help but mutter after he managed to get rid of an opponent.
In the viewing gallery, Lily’s expression had darkened. “You actually told those two to protect jackie? Heh. I never thought that you would resort to such dirty tactics for the sake of your son.”
Nash had been watching everything unfold on the fighting stage as well. “Heh. I didn’t arrange for this. I never thought that they would help jackie either,” he said, a bitter smile on his face. “Or perhaps they wanted to help him because they thought that he was a pretty good man!”
The corners of the Third Elder’s lips twitched when he heard that. “Heh. Shouldn’t you have thought of a better excuse, Master?” he said, expression stony. “Beth and Yule have only known jackie for a short time. How could they help him on their own accord? But it doesn’t matter, since he’ll be eliminated in the second round. He’ll just lose less shamefully!”
“How interesting, Beth, Yule. You’re…actually helping the live-in son-in-law?”
At this moment, a man could not stand the sight any longer. He threw an opponent off the stage and stomped his foot, streaking straight before the trio. He spoke with a cold smile.
“Heh. We’re not going against the rules, Lionel, are we? You can fight us if you’re not pleased with anything!”
Beth folded her arms before her chest. “You, an eighth-grade grandmaster, are thinking of eliminating the two of us?” she said haughtily.
A muscle worked in his jaw. A cloud suddenly fell over his face.
However, he quickly reined in his anger. “Are you a true man, you punk? Hiding behind these two women’s backs. Some hero you are,” he said, looking at jackie. “Fight me if you have the guts. Stop hiding behind other people like some ostrich!”
“Heh, jackie won’t fall for your trap. He’s not an idiot. He’ll never be roused by your provocation.”
Yule folded her arms across her chest and spoke without hesitation, lips curved into a frosty smile.
That smile instantly disappeared after she said that—because jackie was actually slowly walking forward until he became before her and Beth.
“Heh. You do have a point. As a man, I shouldn’t hide behind others.”
jackie came before the man and stared at him, smirking.
“He’s provoking you, jackie. Can’t you tell? He can’t beat us, so he wants to lure you out to eliminate you!”
Yule began to panic. “You are the Master’s son,” she whispered to jackie. “Plenty of people will take you for a joke if you’re eliminated during the first round!”
“That’s right, jackie. Listen to your little sister. I think she’s right too. I want to help you because of this!”
Beth also tried to convince jackie.
The two of them were fighters who had attained the true god status. Regular participants did not dare to seek trouble with either one of them.
After all, there were not many fighters like them among the younger generation.
“Hah. You’ve got guts!”
Lionel also never expected jackie to fall for it. He flashed a thumbs up. “Don’t worry, you’ll be respected even if you lose to me. At least you’re not a wimp who hides behind women’s backs!”
“Heh. I don’t have the right to even touch the Cryo Pearl if I can’t beat you.”
No one expected jackie to speak with such a grudging tone, a wan smile on his face.
“Oh my. You’re aiming for the treasure? So you want to be the champion!”
Lionel smiled; his gaze hardened. “You’re all bark and no bite!”
“Cut the crap. There’ll only be a hundred people left on this stage very soon if I don’t throw you out!”
jackie took a step forward and curled his fingers mockingly.
Lionel stomped his foot and came before jackie, directing a punch at the latter.
He was fast, and his attack was ferocious. It was evident that he was not holding back.
“Heh. Seems like your son isn’t listening to your orders, Nash. I think Lionel will be the one to eliminate him!”
Lily smirked as she observed what was happening on the fighting stage. She knew that jackie had been provoked by Lionel’s words to come forward and fight.
Yet the very next second, Lily’s expression crumpled.
jackie did not dodge Lionel’s blow at all, raising his fist instead to meet his opponent’s.
Lionel, the eighth-grade grandmaster, was actually flung backward from the impact, landing heavily below the stage. He spat a mouthful of blood, and his cheeks were leached out of color.
“What! That punk…is of a true god status?”
Lionel was shocked that he had been eliminated. Disbelief filled his eyes. He never thought that a brat from the mortal realm would actually be so frighteningly strong. The force behind jackie’s punch made him feel like there would have been no way to counter it.
“Heh. My apologies, dear, but jackie is not as weak as you think he is!”
Nash nodded his head in approval, speaking to Lily.
The corners of Lily’s lips twitched. “He’s not bad, but he’s far below the likes of my son,” she said. “My son isn’t here today, but if he were, he would be crowned champion!”
“No way. Lionel actually got thrown back by that punk with just a single punch, and he’s an eighth-grade grandmaster. This means that the punk is at least a ninth-grade grandmaster!”
Plenty of contestants had been observing this as well. All of them were stunned when they saw the scene unfolding. They never imagined for that easy target to actually be that strong.
“He’s not as weak as we think he is!”
Hudson also saw this, and he looked slightly ill.
He clenched his fists and stalked toward jackie. “Looks like I’ll have to deal with you myself!”
Hudson’s veins flooded with evil intent. He had not meant to eliminate jackie, but instead kill him right off. Lily had told him about this privately. He was to say that he had accidentally killed jackie, and Lily would do everything in her power to protect him.
Besides, he would be granted plenty of rewards after.
“Really? Let’s see if you’ve got the skills to back those words!”
jackie was stunned. He looked at Hudson, grinning, as though he was not worried at all.
“ jackie, Hudson is at the advanced stage of the demi-god status. Even I may not be a match for him! He has a chance to become the champion!”
Beth frowned and walked over, stepping before jackie.
“And so ends the first round!”
Yet no one expected Wendy’s voice to ring out at this moment.
Yule was stunned for a second, then she smiled. “That’s great. Now there are only a hundred people left on this fighting stage, Hudson. You can’t lift a finger now that the first round is over!”
The corners of Hudson’s mouth twitched violently. He scanned the people on the stage; including the four of them, there were indeed a hundred people left.
He clenched his fists and glared at jackie. “You were lucky today, punk. I never thought that so many people would be eliminated so fast. Heh. You would have been thrown out otherwise!”
“I think you’re the lucky one. Otherwise, a master at the advanced stage of a true god status eliminated in the first round? How embarrassing would that be for you!”
jackie shrugged his shoulders and spoke in a nonchalant tone.
“Hah. You’re pretty good at boasting, punk. Just pray that you don’t meet me in the next round. Otherwise, I’ll teach you a good lesson on what it means to be weak!”
Hudson said, laughing.
“All right. The first round is over. To all who have advanced to the next round, please exit the stage!”
The Fourth Elder spoke at this moment.
The victorious candidates all leaped down and stood to the side.
“We will now commence with the second round. It will not be a melee competition, but a one-on-one battle!”
Wendy announced in a clear voice as she stood on the fighting stage, “The matches will be drawn via lottery. We have a hundred cards, with numbers from one to fifty written on them. For every number, there will be a pair. The one who draws the same number as you do will be your opponent!”
While Wendy was speaking, two workers carried trays over, with cards splayed over them.
jackie simply picked a card with the number ’21’ written on it. It seemed that his opponent would be the person holding the other card with the number ’21’ on it.
“All right. Has everybody gotten their number?”
After a while, Wendy added, “Participants who drew numbers one to ten, please take the fighting stages accordingly. For example, those who drew the card with number one will go to stage number 1. After all ten pairs have finished their battle, I will call upon those who have drawn up until the number twenty!”
After she thought about it, she said, “The rules for this round are simple. You cannot kill your opponent, and you win by getting your opponent off the stage. Of course, you’ll automatically win if your opponent surrenders!”
After Wendy finished announcing the rules for this round, the contestants who took the number one to ten flew up to their respective stages.
Evidently, the competitors who emerged victorious in this second round would be able to become the top 50 contestants, and then they would be guaranteed a prize already.
“Hah. You’ve got some luck to run into me!”
On one of the fighting stages, a seventh-grade grandmaster was paired with a fourth-grade grandmaster. The former could not help but grin.
Since the first round was a melee, there were a few people who were not very strong that managed to hold on to the very end as they got lucky.
This seventh-grade grandmaster was considered an average fighter. After all, the people who won were all pretty strong—and that was why he was afraid that he would run into master of true god status.
He never thought that his luck was in his favor. He actually got a fourth-grade grandmaster as his opponent. Excitement flooded through his veins.
The fourth-grade grandmaster flashed a bitter smile. “I did not have hope anyway unless I was paired with the other fourth-grade grandmaster here!”
After he said that, he actually jumped off the stage. “I surrender!”
The seventh-grade grandmaster was stunned for a moment. Then he smiled.
“Jeez. That fellow is so lucky. He advanced to the next round just like that!”
Someone was extremely envious when he saw this.
However, the people on the other nine fighting stages were not so lucky. The opponents they had were about the same level as they were, and naturally, they would not give in without a fight. They threw themselves at each other, and the frightening cacophony of skirmishes filled the air.
“The fighting skills of this family are pretty good!”
jackie was astounded by the sight as he peered down from the audience stand. He could tell that these masters from the White family spent plenty of time honing their martial skills, and all of them were stronger than regular fighters.
Soon enough, the first batch of contestants was done. The people who had won were all elated and quickly went to claim their prizes first. The losers left dejectedly, their heads hung low as they joined the crowd to watch the rest of the competition.
Of course, there were some who had sustained more serious injuries. They could only sit at the side, take a few healing pills, and have a good rest.
The second group of people quickly went up as well.
“Hey, what number did you get?”
Unexpectedly, Yule tapped jackie’s shoulder from behind at this moment.
jackie turned his head, surprised. “Why did you ask that, Yule?”
“Can’t I ask? I just want to know when it’ll be your turn!”
Yule replied, a sweet smile on her face.
“Oh, it’ll be my turn soon!”
jackie smiled. “You’ll soon find out what number I drew!” he said.
Just as jackie finished his last syllabus, the Fourth Elder—Wendy Wind—had already flitted back onto the stage of the tournament once again.
She plastered a gentle smile and spilled, “Very well. Let’s invite participants from number 21 to number 30 to the stage!”
“Hehe! Brother jackie, it’s my turn to go up!”
Yule giggled warmly and strode toward the stage. She stomped on her right foot, leaped upward to the air, and landed on the stage. All these happened within a few seconds.
jackie stared at Yule who was already on the stage, then he looked down at the tiny piece of paper in his hand. The number on the paper made him completely dumbfounded.
“No way! How could it be her? What should I do now?”
jackie did not know whether to cry or to laugh. How could he have imagined that Yule would be his opponent? What a coincidence!
The other competitors jumped onto the stage of the tournament, and some of them glided onto the stage.
“Where’s my opponent?”
Yule frowned with a puzzled look. Her opponent had not come up to the stage yet.
Soon, her puzzled look was replaced with speechlessness. jackie stepped out of the crowd, then with a gentle stomp, he appeared in front of Yule in the next second.
“No freaking way! Brother jackie, you’re my opponent?”
Yule’s eyes went wide, and her jaw dropped to the ground when she saw that jackie stood before her. She could not believe her own eyes. Did she see wrongly? Was the person in front of her jackie? Too much of a coincidence!
“What the h*ll?”
The crowd gasped at the arrangement on the stage. Each of them had a strange look on their faces.
“The illegitimate trash of Nash White will fight against his own daughter. Heh! It’s interesting, isn’t it? Doesn’t this mean that the Brother will be competing against the Sister?”
Some people laughed sarcastically. They had never expected to witness such an episode today.
“Hahaha! That b*stard, I don’t think he is his sister’s opponent. Although Yule White is young, she is talented and a master! She’s only 17 or 18 years old but she has already reached the middle stage of a demi god status. Such martial skill and fighting prowess are similar to those so-called Gods of War. That illegitimate jackie is obviously not her opponent!”
Another person giggled with a playful tone. “I’m afraid that this time the Brother is going to lose to his sister!”
“What is this? Nash, don’t tell me you’ve arranged this? Heh! You’re quite smart, aren’t you? You actually make your daughter compete against your son in the second round. What a trick!”
Lily was stunned at the scene. She then said with a face of contempt, “I didn’t see that coming, and clearly didn’t expect such a dirty trick from the Head of the White family! You made this arrangement on purpose so that your son would win the tournament, am I right? Don’t you feel ashamed at all!”
“Dirty trick? What trick did I use?”
Nash’s face went dull and then reprimanded, “Lily, don’t talk bullsh*t if you have no evidence!”
“Oh? Do you think I don’t know what you were doing? In the first round, you had Yule and Beth protect your lovely son, so that he could enter the second round!”
Lily sneered coldly. “I didn’t expect you to pull such a trick in the second round. You must have used some dirty tricks to mark the cards during the card drawing session so that your dear son would face your daughter in this round! The next step is even simpler, you’ll just have to ask your daughter to lose to jackie deliberately for jackie to enter the next round, are my guesses correct? Then he can eventually get into the top 50, am I right?”
Anger instantly welled up in his chest when Nash heard Lily’s claim. He never expected Lily to see him that way. He coughed harshly then only managed to spill some words out. “I didn’t!”
“Hmph! You didn’t? If you didn’t plan it, how can there be such a coincidence? Anyhow, I’d still want to see what’s up your sleeve next! How will you make your son the champion of this tournament!”
Lily snorted cold-heartedly and her face had become more and more unsightly.
“Madam, Nash didn’t do this, it’s really coincidental. You’ve known Nash for so many years, you know he is not that kind of person. He has always done things openly and honestly!”
Lizzie—who was standing aside—could not stand watching both of them argue, so she intervened to help Nash.
“Lizzie, just mind your own business, will ya? Is it because you think jackie is back with the White family and there’s a high chance for him to be the heir? Are you trying to befriend him so that he’ll take your side in the future? Hahaha! Don’t think that I don’t know what your little, tiny brain is plotting!”
Lily hissed unceremoniously. She did not see that coming. Lizzie, who had never been a talker nor an arguer dared to stand up and speak for Nash this time.
“Mrs. White, no, I—I’ve never thought of it that way. We’re a family, we shouldn’t fight. This round of the tournament must be coincidental…”
Lizzie had never wished to stir up trouble, though she disliked Lily in her heart quietly. Lily was a rather forceful and quick-tempered woman. This was why Lizzie had always shut her mouth up and even rarely stepped out of the house, hoping to live a quiet and peaceful life.
“Hmph! We’ll know soon if it’s staged or coincidental! Yule is already at the middle stage of the demi-god level. Hence if she loses to jackie this round, it must be on purpose! After all, we’re all martial artists with good eyesight; we definitely know which move is being done on purpose!”
Lily hummed frostily and left her last sentence.
Nash was deep in thoughts about Lily’s claim. He then wheeled his head, facing the First Elder, and asked in a careful tone, “First Elder, did you…did you arrange all this?”
Indeed, this seemed a little bit too coincidental for him to comprehend. He now had somewhat suspected that there could really be someone plotting this without him knowing.
The First Elder was rendered speechless for a few seconds and then replied in a calm voice, “Master White, it’s not like you don’t know what kind of person I am. How could it be possible for me to arrange all this?”
“Alright! Since you’ve said so, I trust you! That’s fine.”
Nash bobbed his head with a bitter smile hanging on his tired face.
At this moment, the tournament has already started. The other nine candidates had started fighting each other, except for Yule and jackie.
Yule and jackie were at stage number one; they were looking at each other with an awkward look plastered on their face.
“Brother jackie, I can’t believe that you’re my opponent! Sigh! I heard that you’re very talented. Well. Let me test that hearsay out!”
Yule halted to ponder for a few seconds, she then clenched her fist and said, “If you can’t even defeat me, you’d never get first place. After all, Sister Beth is a lot stronger than me! She’s already at the late stage of the demi-god level. Not to mention that Hudson and Martin have both signed up for this tournament; they’re both at the late stage of the demi-god realm as well. There’s a lot of others who are stronger than me. Therefore, even if I let you win on purpose this time, it’d be in vain!”
Few seconds of silence brushed through the air, Yule then continued, “But, well, even though my martial art status is not as high as theirs, I’m a powerful fighter with stronger determination compared to them. So, I actually have a little hope in winning them.” Yule felt proud of herself. “Anyway, you don’t have to worry about the Cryo Pearl. I’ve discussed this with Beth. The two of us, no matter who wins the first place, when the time comes, we’ll give you the Cryo Pearl!”
jackie suddenly felt a flicker of warmth inside his heart when he heard Yule’s words. “Thank you for your kindness. But, I better get first place, so that it’d be certain that I’ll get the Cryo Pearl!”
“You get the first place? Are you serious? Do you know that I’m already at the intermediate stage of the demi-god level?”
Yule was puzzled at jackie’s exaggeration, wondering if she had heard him wrong. She was relatively young among the younger generation in the White family, and to be at such a level, she was considered a master among masters!
How could jackie be so confident with his own ability? Could it be that his martial art status and fighting prowess were even higher than hers?
“I know your martial art status, so I will hold back a little. After all, you’re my sister; I won’t hurt you!”
jackie gave Yule a faint smile. Though the smile was faint, it was radiant and sunny.
He could see that Yule was a kind-hearted person, although she might have been spoiled since young and had always carried a frightening yet noble aura, she was a young woman with a pure and simple heart.
“Hehe! Not bad at all! You take care of your sister!”
Yule returned with a wide and amiable grin. Near the corner of her mouth appeared a cute dimple.
After teasing jackie, Yule balled her fist firmly, stomped on her feet. She leaped toward jackie, yelling, “Brother jackie, I hope you won’t let me down!”
Just as Yule’s words fell, she had come before jackie. Her speed was not as fast as lighting, but rather like a phantom that no one was able to catch a sight of. Less than a second, she was right in front of jackie.
jackie clenched his fist as well when he saw Yule blasting toward him with a firmly balled fist.
The seemingly ordinary clash of fists between two humans emitted a terrifying loud bang and cast a powerful and forceful circular wave outward to the audience.
The radiant smile that was on Yule’s pretty face a moment ago soon faded into the thin air. What was soon dawned upon her face was shock and puzzlement.
The strength and power that erupted from jackie’s body were clearly way stronger than hers. Based on the strength she had felt from him, this man before him should at least be at the late stage of the demi-god level. Moreover, he seemed to belong to the top-notch category in the late stage of the demi-god level.
With Yule’s round and astonishment-filled eyes, she was blown away by the force and flew two to three meters backward before she stomped on the ground, halting, and stabilizing herself.
This was the first clash between the two, and to everyone’s surprise, it was jackie who had the upper hand.
“My God! Did you see that? That punk jackie had actually blasted Yule, the little master, away?”
In the stands, the crowd could not help but gasp aloud at the scene before them. They initially thought that jackie would soon be eliminated within seconds. They truly did not expect him to be so strong.
At this time, most of the battles on the other stages had already ended. Some were eliminated and some advanced into the next round. All of them were paying attention to the situation on the other stages.
And when they witnessed the clash between Yule and jackie, confusion and astonishment were written on their face. After all, Yule’s combat prowess was already at the demi-god level; how could an adopted son-in-law who had just returned from the secular world be stronger than her?
“That’s freaking awesome! Master White, Young Master jackie is so awesome, isn’t he? Haha! He is more powerful than I expected!”
In the viewing stand, Butler Titus’s eyes were immediately lit up as though he had seen something wonderful. “If jackie could win the first place and become the heir to the family head. We finally have a successor for the White!” Titus chortled warmly.
Nevertheless, just as he finished his words, he could feel a pair of burning eyes staring at him with malice and hatred.
If this gaze could kill, he had no doubt that he would have died a million times over.
A wave of fury crashed through Lily that she was almost choking on her rage. She glared at Titus with eyes full of hatred, and then she barked, “What do you mean by ‘finally have a successor for the White’? Is my son not a member of the White family? Isn’t he the son of Nash White? I watched the battle with my own naked eyes, and it was so fake! It was obvious that Yule went easy on that punk! You all must have discussed the strategy before the tournament started! Otherwise, it’s impossible for that punk to perform that way!”
“Went easy on him?”
The First Elder could not bear to hear all those toxic words anymore. “First Madam, are you joking? It’s clear that the battle just now was serious; Yule did not go easy on jackie at all! That was a test attack, but Yule definitely did not go easy on jackie!”
The Third Elder—Wade White—sat aside, watching the commotion. He did not comment on anything, but somehow his forehead puckered.
It was because he saw the attack clearly with his own naked eyes. That attack did not seem like Yule was going easy on jackie deliberately.
“Could it be…could it be that this punk truly possesses the strength to get first place? Nash White has so much confidence in him.”
Wade’s face went dull and gloomy. It seemed like there was only one way for him to grab the position of the family head, which was to find a way to assassinate the First Elder and then murder jackie after Nash dies from the poison.
By that time, his martial level would be the highest and strongest in the White family, and if he says that he wanted to become the head of the White family, who would dare to disobey him?
At this moment, on top of the tournament stage number one, Yule charged toward jackie with her fist clenched once again. She was surprised, at the same time, felt humiliated when she was blasted away by jackie.
However, this time, there was a thin layer of light blue Chi wrapped around her clenched fist. Obviously, her attack was much stronger and more terrifying than before; she actually controlled her Chi to surround her fist to enhance her attack.
“It looks like I have underestimated you!”
When Yule came close to jackie, the corner of her mouth curled upward, and her fist lunged at jackie at a lighting speed.
jackie responded quickly with a gripped fist. He, too, can control the Chi in his body well, and within a second, a layer of light blue Chi embraced his fist.
Facing Yule’s attack, jackie balled his fist and blasted directly with Yule’s fist.
The sound of their clashing fist was so much louder than before, and the powerful impact blew Yule off the tournament stage.
Yule’s tongue was tied. She had not even used any martial arts technique and yet she was eliminated from the competition by jackie just like that? With only a punch?
When realization finally dawned upon her, she was already standing under the stage, outside the tournament ring.
“Thank you, Sister Yule! I’m sorry if I’ve harmed you. This is the only way for me to win this competition!”
jackie chuckled warmly, and then only he jumped down from the stage.
“There’s absolutely no faking in that punch just now! I didn’t expect that punk to be at the demi-god level!”
The Third Elder gasped, at the same time, released a huge sigh of defeat. “Furthermore, looking at the thickness and richness of the Chi of that punk, also his control over the Chi, I suspect that punk could already be at the late stage or even the peak stage of the demi-god realm!”
“No freaking way! Is he really that strong?”
Lily was somewhat speechless; she could not deny jackie’s strength. jackie’s ability to use Chi to attack had already shown that he was definitely a solid demi-god. That was something that could not be faked.
“Not bad, huh. You’re a lot stronger than me! Now I have faith in you to win first place!”
Yule approached jackie when she saw him jump down from the stage. “Now, go there and collect the rewards for the top 50! Five Chi Congregation Pills!” Yule said to jackie with a bitter smile on her face.
“No freaking way! This punk defeated our stunning master Yule and got her eliminated from the tournament? Hehe! This competition is out of the ordinary, isn’t this exciting?”
In the viewing stands, one of the heads of the White branch family could not hold back but to laugh aloud.
“Yes, it’s indeed exciting and surprising! jackie was brought up and trained in a secular world, yet he possesses such skill and achievement! I wonder, at which level his martial art status is currently at now. It shouldn’t be weaker than any of the Whites!”
Another head of the White branch family chimed in.
The precious head of the White branch family then responded. “This shouldn’t be possible. We’re a great and prominent family in the hidden world, and Yule is from the White main family. She should have a better fighting technique and strategy. As for jackie, who defeated her, perhaps he has higher a martial art status, most probably he’s at the late stage of the demi-god level.
“Haha! In fact, I do hope that brat could win the position of the heir of the family head. After all, only such a person—who rises slowly from the mundane—will understand acquiring martial arts and improving fighting prowess is hella difficult. I think it might be better for him to be the heir than the high and almighty Lance. Lance is too proud, isn’t he?”
Another head of White’s branch family laughed out loud after giving some thoughts to the matter.
“Shush! Keep your voice down. You’ll be in big trouble if Lily overhears you! If that’s the case, the resource for enhancing martial art status for the branch family will be halved next month! That woman holds grudges for a long time!”
An old man who was standing beside the heads of White branch family reminded them in a panic tone.
The head of White’s branch family looked around, then whispered tensely, “We’re so far away though, it’s not possible for her to overhear us, right? Speaking of her, this time her son has disappeared for so long and still hasn’t been found, I guess he’s highly likely dead by now. Furthermore, the position of the heir to the family head is now going into others’ hands. I guess she must be infuriating and seething!”
“Of course, she is upset! But she deserves it, doesn’t she? She always looks down on people whenever and wherever she goes, especially members of the branches of the White family. We’re under her barbaric management all this while; she requests for top-notch quality resources for the enhancement of martial art status, and leaves us with only elementary and low-quality resources.”
The head of the White branch family released a huge sigh and said, “Sigh! We are only the members of the branch family. If the branch family members want to grow, the main family members have to evolve even more, hence it’s reasonable for us to hand all the good-quality resources to the main family so that they can be stronger. Otherwise, the White family wouldn’t achieve what we have today, the White wouldn’t be one of the Eight Shadow Families on this earth!”
“But, she is asking more and more every year, and I heard that the main person in charge of collecting these resources is the Third Elder. This Third Elder has a close relationship with the wicked First Madam, so I guess the request is ordered by the First Madam!”
The old man said with a stern tone.
At this time, jackie had claimed his five Chi Congregation Pills. He kept the five pills inside his martial ring, only then he returned to the victor’s team.
“Kiddo, you’re not that bad at all! You won again, and you’re actually at the demi-god level. How surprising!”
Suddenly, a man approached jackie with a sinister grin. It was Hudson—who had won the second round and got into the third round.
“I have to win. In order to get the Cryo Pearl, the only way is for me to win this tournament!”
jackie studied the person in front of him as he spoke in a calm tone.
“Haha! Did you all hear that? This punk has declared his intention of coming to the White family! He is eyeing on the Cryo Pearl! What does this say? It says that he wants to be number one!”
Hudson sneered sarcastically. He then turned to the crowd and uttered in a rough and loud voice, “Guys, if any of you face him in the future rounds, don’t go easy on him, okay? And even if you win against him, you’ve to cripple him. Otherwise, if we let this punk get the first place, we—the masters who were trained in the White family—would be embarrassed, and others will think that we’re weaklings!”
“Don’t worry! I’ll definitely make sure he is bedridden for months if he is ever my opponent in the next rounds!”
The tall and bulky Martin intervened in a gruff voice.
“That punk merely got lucky in the previous round and defeated Yule!”
Another man chimed in with a cold smile. “First, Yule simply didn’t expect for him to be at the demi-god level, so Yule certainly didn’t use her full strength in the battle, giving him the advantage to win over her. Second, Yule has not had the time to use her martial techniques and skills. Heh! If she had the time to use them, or even take out weapons, it’d be easy-peasy for her to win that round!”
The man who chimed in after pondering was a ninth-grade grandmaster.
jackie did not bother paying attention to these men, instead, he sat down, crossed his legs, and waited leisurely for the next round.
The contempt from these people, sooner or later, he would use his fists to respond and make them understand that although he, jackie White, came from the mundane world, he was not any inferior to these so-called masters of the White family.
jackie noticed the Third Elder from afar, who was at the high viewing platform. The only person that concerned him was the Third Elder.
Because Titus had told him before that this Third Elder, Lily, and the Ninth Patronum—Brenton White—were basically a team; they were close to each other. The Third Elder was very good at hiding himself in the dark. A warm yet fake smile always hung on his face whenever he talked to someone. jackie thought that he should be cautious of the Third Elder.
The most concerning thing was that the Third Elder’s martial art status and combat prowess were top-notch. Other than the First Elder, only Nash White would be able to fight with him. But now that his father was poisoned; therefore, the only person left who could hold the Third Elder was the First Elder.
jackie couldn’t care less about these so-called masters. He was already at the true god realm; with such martial level and combat prowess, it was sufficient for him to defeat these masters easily.
Nonetheless, he was completely clueless about the Third Elder and his people. If the other party had plotted a murder on him, he did not know if he was able to defeat them.
After all, jackie had never fought such a strong person before.
Soon, the second round was finally over.
“Next will be the third round! Listen carefully, in this round of competition, there are only five winners, the top five. So this is another melee round, and it only ends when there’s only last five standing on the stage!”
“And the top five candidates will be awarded a first-grade premium spirited grass!”
The Fourth Elder flew onto the stage and announced the rules for the third round aloud.
The candidates’ spirits were suddenly soaring high when they heard of the prize for the top five—the spirited grass. They clearly did not see this coming; they did not expect the top five would receive such a treasure.
“What’s a spirited grass? First-grade premium spirited grass? Is it something powerful? Why is everybody so excited?”
At a spot under the stage, Selena asked with a puzzled face. jackie winning all the previous rounds was within her expectation, after all, she knew very well that jackie’s martial art level was already at the elementary stage of the true god level. Anyway, she still went and inquired about the masters and felt instant relief when she knew of their martial art level.
She truly believed that the position of the first place in this tournament belonged to jackie.
Elaine—who was beside Selena—cast her a faint yet gentle smile, then she explained in a casual tone, “Sister Selena, everything on this earth has spirit, including trees, grasses, and so on. If the living things grow in a place where the spiritual energy is dense and rich, and is nourished by the spiritual energy for a very long time, these grasses or whatever will become spirited. They will start to absorb the spiritual energy around them.”
Selena nodded with confusion plastered on his face. “Everyone is really happy about this spirited grass. What does it do though? Are its benefits truly amazing?”
“Of course, it’s amazing! It’s arduous and hard to find spirited grass, which makes it extremely rare. These spirited grasses not only have to grow in a place with a high density of spiritual energy, but age is important, too. The older the age of the spirited grass, the rarer and the better it is!”
“Besides, we will look into their degree of richness of the spiritual energy in them and categorize them into grades accordingly. There’s a total of nine grades, the first grade is the lowest of quality and the ninth is the highest. Within its own grade, we further divide them into elementary, intermediate, and premium. These spirited grasses help us to enhance our martial art status and combat prowess faster than usual.”
Elaine smiled warmly and explained to Selena in a patient manner.
“Wow! If one has consumed enough spirited grass, does it mean that he could enhance his combat prowess and martial level faster and greater?”
Ben—who was beside Selena—could not help but exclaim aloud at Elaine’s explanation. His eyes lit up and were full of desire, as though he had found the love of his life.
A strong fighter, who did not want to become a strong existence? A strong fighter like jackie, he could kill dozens and even up to hundreds of men with just a wave of his palm.
In the past, Ben did not know of any of these, hence he naturally had no desire for martial prowess. Now that he had learned about all these, he naturally had the desire to become stronger.
The only way to protect his family was to become stronger. He was a grown-up; he did not want to be protected by Elaine all the time. He wanted to protect her too.
“That’s certain. But the speed of enhancing the martial art status depends heavily on the techniques used. The higher the level of technique, the faster you gain enhancement in your martial prowess!”
Elaine smiled, paused, and continued. “Well. It’s like a game; it’s always easy to gain enhancement in martial art status when you first start practicing it. And it grows harder and harder as you reach a higher level. When you reach the ninth-grade grandmaster level, it basically depends largely on your talent to breakthrough and go into the next level. But, for some people, they could not even reach the first-grade grandmaster level. Hence, it largely depends on a person’s talent, resources, and techniques. These are all inter-related!”
Selena was shocked upon hearing Elaine’s words. “It’s really not easy, isn’t it? Sigh! I wonder how my natural talent is in this area. Sigh! I don’t want to become a burden to jackie all the time and ask for his help.”
“Don’t worry, Sister Selena. I have faith in you. You’re definitely more talented than most of the people!”
Elaine chuckled. “Besides, when Brother jackie becomes the heir to the family head, he’ll surely give you some superb pills like Chi Congregation Pills to help you in improving your martial art status. You’re at the early stage, so it’d be fast for you to improve your martial art status, and even faster with all those pills and herbs!”
Selena bobbed her head cutely after thinking about what Elaine said. But she was quick to wonder about some questions. “This is strange though. These masters are already at a high level of martial art status, why are they still happy about the first-grade spiritual grass? Didn’t you just say that the ninth grade is the best? So, first-grade ones are not even that precious, right?
Ben was in the same confusion as Selena was. “Yeah, why are they happy over the first-grade spirited grass?”
Elaine returned with a bitter smile. “The grading system is what I heard from the older generation. It was passed down from generation to generation. But, in reality, even a third-grade spirited grass is extremely rare, not to mention a ninth grade. All these grasses are considered supreme treasures. Moreover, for a ninth-grade grandmaster martial artist or even a demi-god level artist, even a first-grade spirited grass could help them a lot!”
Here, Elaine paused for a while before continuing, “That’s why a lot of people doubt if a third or fourth grade or higher-grade spirited grass even exists—because no one’s ever seen it before. Besides, there’s another legend that’s even more exciting. Who knows if it’s true!”
“What legend is this?”
Selena and Ben asked simultaneously.
Elaine smiled. “The highest status a chi warrior can attain as of now is to be at the peak of the true god status. It’s very difficult to improve once you’ve hit that stage since we don’t have any martial art skills that advance beyond that. Still, there’s a legend that says that it’s possible to achieve something even more—the ultimate god status.”
Elaine thought about it, then she looked at the siblings before him, utterly solemn. “According to the legends, you’ll be able to prolong your life when you hit the ultimate god status,” she said. “Apparently, you’ll be able to live until two hundred years-old!”
Selena and Ben took a sharp intake of breath, wondering if they had heard her wrong. If the legends were true, then someone of that status could live until they were two hundred years old. Who would not want something like that?
Besides, a person of the true god status was frightening enough. A person with the ultimate god status must be exceedingly strong.
“The competition has started. Let’s go watch. These are just legends; no one knows if they’re true. Heh. The eight shadow families are all trying to unearth this mystery. They’ve been to so many dangerous places, but they haven’t found a single clue even after so many years. That’s why I think it’s likely that all these legends are just legends!”
Elaine flashed a hapless smile. “If there really is an eighth or ninth-grade spirited grass existing out there, they must contain unimaginable amounts of chi. And it might just make my body explode in an instant. After all, there’s no way a body like mine can take in that much energy.”
At that moment, fifty contestants were left on the fighting stage. Only five would advance to the next round after the melee battle. It was evident that the competition was far fiercer than the previous melee.
After all, everyone who was still standing there were all strong fighters—at least seventh to ninth-grade grandmasters. Only fighters like that stood a chance to hold on until then.
“Heh. You won’t escape this time, jackie!”
Before the fight even began, Hudson already had his eyes pinned on jackie, arms folded across his chest, and a cold smile on his lips.
“Heh. I wasn’t planning on that!”
jackie could not help but gave a bitter smile. “You leave me with no choice then,” he said, “since you’re so eager to be eliminated!”
“Let the round begin!”
The Fourth Elder stood on the tip of her toes then flew off the stage. Then she announced in a clear voice.
“Hmph!” Upon the sound indicating that the competition had begun, Hudson—who had achieved the final stage of his demi-god level power—balled his hand tightly. His fist emitted Chi as he rushed toward jackie.
“Not wasting a single second, huh?” jackie’s lips shifted into a smirk as he noted that ferocity in wanting to eliminate him, and his tightly clenched fist was covered with a thick layer of Chi.
All so suddenly, however, a beautiful figure appeared in front of him like a flash of lightning as they met Hudson’s punch with their own.
“Beth?” jackie dismissed the Chi covering his fist and was slightly surprised.
A powerful explosion could be heard as they both flew backward several meters due to the sheer force before they could regain their footing.
There was not much difference between their true powers.
“Beth White!” The enraged Hudson gave Beth a disgusted glare as he growled, “What’s the meaning of this? You want this illegitimate child who returned from the outside world to win this competition? Do you want every White here to lose their dignity? Haha…! How shameful would we be when news about this got spread outside? They’d say that masters like us can’t even compare to someone who returned from the outside world!”
Beth met Hudson’s glare. “I’m sorry Hudson, but there’s nothing shameful about this. In my opinion, jackie is a member of the White family, and more importantly, he’s also the White family master. jackie’s ability shows how powerful the White family’s younger generation is. He’s able to grow, even though he went to a place that didn’t have enough Chi. To me, that’s not a shameful thing. Instead, it’s a good thing and something worth showing off!”
“You…” Hudson was angry when he heard what Beth said, but he had no way of fighting back. “Haha… What you’re saying is a fallacy. I’m going to ask you this: Are you getting out of my way?”
“No!” answered Beth, no hesitation in the way she responded.
Beth then looked at jackie who was beside her and said. “ jackie, this guy keeps pinpointing on you. I know that your fighting prowess isn’t bad, so why don’t we work together? We’d have one less competitor if we eliminate Hudson first.”
It was true that people like Hudson and Beth, who were at the last stage of the demi-god level, were rare among the younger masters in the White’s main family.
They were the ones that had the highest hope of winning the competition.
The only person who could surpass them was Lance as he had already surpassed the demi-god level capstone and was one step away from the first stage of the real god-level.
Still, there was a possibility Lance was dead after being missing for a couple of months. Under such circumstances, Hudson, Beth, and other prodigies were the ones with the highest hope of winning the competition and becoming the family master’s inheritor.
“Beth White, you’re really shameless! You actually want to work with this guy and get me eliminated?” Hudson’s face turned pale from anger after he heard what Beth said.
After all, jackie had already eliminated Yule, who was also a strong fighter. Even though it was due to Yule’s carelessness, it proved that jackie was a rather remarkable fighter. Hudson had no confidence in winning if jackie and Beth worked together.
“Nash White, you’re still telling me that you didn’t arrange this? This is obviously your doing, and you’ve gone all out for your son!” Lily, who was on the observing platform, almost burst in anger. She looked at Nash angrily and seethed, “You asked Beth and Yule to protect your son during the first round, and you then cheated during the second round and asked Yule to purposely lose to jackie. Now, you’ve changed the third round into a group-fight and had Beth helping him. Haha… He’ll definitely be in the top five with your help, won’t he?”
“You’re really…really trying to make a scene!” Nash grew angry at that as he coughed, and he took a breather before he added, “You… You saw jackie’s Chi yourself—he’s achieved demi-god prowess. Could I have made that up too?”
“I… I don’t care about all that! Everything seems like it’s been set up to me!” Lily was anguished when her thoughts went to how her son was absent from this competition; he could have been the champion.
“I can’t help it if you want to think about it in that way!” Nash stopped entertaining Lily and ignored her.
However, his face immediately darkened when he saw the situation on the competition stage. He saw several White family disciples were moving in to surround jackie and Beth.
“Oh?” Lily’s mood instantly shifted for the better as she saw the scene as well, chuckling at the sight. “Haha…! I believe you’ve not anticipated this, Nash White. Although you’ve arranged for Beth to protect jackie and help him enter the next round, the other White family disciples don’t like him. So many well-versed prodigies want to eliminate that son of yours first!”
Lily let that sink before she added, “This is fate. Nothing would work even if you’ve already made arrangements when everything has been fated as such!”
Nash’s expression fell, but he still managed to say, “Say whatever you like, because I believe in jackie. I believe he’s capable of becoming the champion because he said he’d work hard for it.”
“Tsk, tsk! You’re still so confident under these circumstances. I wonder where your confidence comes from.” Lily had a smirk on her face before it slowly fell.
She discovered that Nash seemed to be in a better condition than before. The other day, Nash looked pale and still needed Titus to help him walk when they met at the bottom of the mountain. Today, he did not pant as much when he spoke, and his complexion seemed much better.
‘How peculiar. Could it be my imagination, or is he in his last hours?’ mumbled Lily to herself as that thought occurred to her. She grew increasingly suspicious.
Wade, who was by their sides, seemed to also feel that something was different. He looked at Nash and started to frown.
“ jackie, we’re in trouble. They seem to be coming for you!” Beth’s facial expression darkened when she saw that the other prodigies like Martin and Liah moved forward and surrounded them.
Martin and Liah were like Hudson; all three of them were in their final stages of demi-god level prowess. Apart from them, there were three other masters who achieved mid-stage of the demi-god prowess. The strengths and weaknesses were very obvious when six of such masters surrounded and attacked them.
jackie was speechless as they were surrounded, and he glanced at Beth by reflex as he said, “Beth, we wouldn’t have attracted so many people over here if you didn’t come to help me. This many people are coming because you’re here with me!”
What jackie said made Beth speechless.
Because of this, it fueled the other prodigies’ determination to eliminate jackie, thus they surrounded them.
The remaining others dared not come over when they saw how many powerful masters gathered at this side. They could only pick out those with lower combat prowess and try their best to eliminate those people.
“Haha… So, you’re siding with jackie, huh Beth? I’m sorry, but you seemed to have forgotten about me—I also want to eliminate this guy!
“After all, he’s obnoxiously haughty and said that he’s aiming to be the champion!” came the hoarse voice of Martin, a man with a towering stature, as he crossed his arms at his chest.
“We’re in trouble. There are so many of them!” Beth looked at jackie with a disconcerted expression.
“Haha… Don’t you worry. Since they want to take me out so badly, I’ll just have to eliminate them first!” jackie’s behavior was far from what Beth expected; he had an indifferent smile as he seemed undaunted.
“How can you still be in the mood to make jokes when we’re in this situation?” Beth rolled her eyes at jackie and felt that he was unreliable. They were up against six prodigies, and even the one with the weakest prowess was at the middle stage of demi-god level. Three of them had the cultivation of the last stage, yet jackie was shamelessly bragging!
“Haha! I’m not joking!” jackie laughed and curled one of his hands into a fist, and the Chi that came from his fist was much more than the last. Apart from that, his Chi was more condensed compared to those of the other masters.
“Be careful!” Martin warned the others. He was startled when he saw jackie disappearing in a flash.
jackie appeared in front of Hudson and swung his fist powerfully.
“He’s so fast!” Hudson was taken aback at how jackie singled him out first. Hudson, after all, was in the last stage of the demi-god level.
He knew that there was not enough time for him to perform his martial arts, thus he could only meet jackie’s punch with his own.
The moment he took jackie’s punch, Chi was discharged immensely, and his punch was covered with Chi.
“Hmph! So what if you’re light on your feet? I’m at the last stage of the demi-god level, and I don’t believe that I can’t defeat you!
‘Not only will I defeat you today, but I’ll also break your hands and legs. Madam would surely reward me handsomely at the sight of you being crippled. If I kill you, she might even give me a bounty of spirited grass!’ At the thought of the reward possibilities, Hudson’s eyes twinkled with craze as he threw his fist at jackie unreservedly.
However, a strong wave of energy surged through, and the collision between the daunting forces resulted in a humming sound from the interception of their fists.
Hudson, who was at the last stage of the demi-god level, flew outward like a kite severed from its string. He crashed onto the ground after he flew several tens of meters backward and landed outside the competition stage.
Blood was expelled from Hudson’s mouth upon impact, and his face immediately turned pale.
“How…How’s that possible? How can I lose?” Hudson’s eyes were filled with disbelief. He did not believe that he would lose to the illegitimate child, the son-in-law who married into the wife’s family he looked down upon in front of so many people.
He had lost terribly under everyone’s gazes with just one punch. Hudson truly had lost his honor.
“What?!” Many people stopped fighting after they saw what had happened on the stage. Their mouths were wide open and their chins almost dropped to the floor.
Moreover, they never thought that Hudson—who had the highest possibility of winning the competition—would be eliminated by jackie with just one punch. It did not help that Hudson completely lost under the circumstances where both of them utilized their Chi.
They could say that Yule deliberately threw the competition away and let jackie win because they were siblings.
However, they did not feel that Hudson would purposely lose out on the competition.
“What?!” People like the First and Second Elder also stood up from the observation stage in surprise. The force behind jackie’s punch had already reached the highest stage of the demi-god level; he would not have blown Hudson down the stage so easily had he not.
“How’s this possible?” The faces of the Third Elder and Lily darkened after they glanced at each other. Only Lance could have displayed such an attack as jackie’s.
“That’s amazing! Brother-in-law is amazingly strong. Haha! He truly is a one-of-a-kind master!” Ben could barely fight back his grin as he turned to Selena and teased, “Sister, I really admire your insight. You hit the jackpot, scoring a man like him!”
Ben still managed to find a way to jest with her sister. “By the way, Sister, did you realize how different Brother-in-law was on the night of your wedding that you had a child with him?”
Selena rolled her eyes at Ben by reflex. “Do you think that I have special eyesight? How’d I know he’s the young master of the White family? Also, how’d I know that he’d become such a formidable person after being on the battlefield for five years?!”
She glanced at jackie who was on the competition stage and spoke abashedly, “Still, you got a point… I truly have hit the jackpot with him.”
“Definitely! You really have good insight!” beamed Ben. “Of course, my sister is just as outstanding. Both of you can be considered as a match made in heaven!”
“Tsk, tsk! And when have you become such a sweet-talker, huh?” Selena could barely hold back her chuckle.
“That young man seems so different!” Masters and elders from the branch families were also stunned. Many of them even stood up in shock.
“F*ck, it looks like this jackie guy might just be this competition’s champion!” gushed an old man. “Master! He’s a master, no doubt! It must’ve been difficult for him to reach this step as he didn’t have such conditions as the other masters from the White’s main family!”
“Yes, and I never saw it coming that he’d take down Hudson first—that master! This looks very interesting!” another family master said emotionally.
“You five are next!” jackie smiled and said to the remaining five.
The sight of Hudson, a man who achieved the final stage of the demi-god-level, defeated by jackie with a single punch shocked everyone to the core.
Comments began to spiral on top of the observation stage. Before this, they could still say that Nash set everything up and that Yule lost to Nash on purpose.
However, it was obvious that Hudson did not throw the game away on purpose.
The five people standing in front of jackie had disbelief written all over their faces.
It was only after a good while that Liah, her expression shifting into a more grim mein, spoke, “This guy’s at an incredible state level now, and he’s also adept in combat. Don’t underestimate him. I say we attack together!”
“Yes, let’s attack together and eliminate this guy first. We can’t let him win again. We’d have no place to hide our faces if he wins and becomes the champion.” Martin immediately nodded. There was still hope for them if all five of them attacked jackie together.
“ jackie, I can help block one or two!” offered Beth, her countenance alert and sharp.
What she did not expect was for jackie to shake his head and said, “Don’t worry about it. I don’t need your help here; I can handle them all no problem!”
Martin, Liah, and the others had their lips uncontrollably twitching. The guy before them was practically rubbing it on their faces.
“Exploding Wolf Punch!” Not wanting to spare a single second for jackie, Martin balled his fist and condensed Chi to cover it. He performed a martial-art skill and rushed toward jackie.
“What?! He executed the Exploding Wolf Punch? That’s a first-grade premium martial skill, an impressive skill for a young person. Their attack power can increase by several folds after using this skill!” Many people at the observation deck exclaimed after they saw this.
“Look, it’s the illusion of a wolf head. I had no idea that Martin could perform this martial skill so well. It’s unfortunate that he’s not a master in the real god-stage; he’d be able to send the wolf head to the opponent and attack his opponent if he was a master at that level. The attack power would be magnificent!” exclaimed some among the people. “However, it’s quite difficult for Martin to perform the Exploding Wolf Punch in such a manner.”
At that moment…
“Exploding Wolf Punch!” Liah performed the same punching skill and rushed toward jackie with Martin.
The Exploding Wolf Punch that Liah performed had also achieved an extremely thorough status. The Chi on her punch was also thickly condensed, and there was also an illusion of the wolf head on it.
“Clouds Flowing Palm!” The other three people who were halfway in their demi-god level carried out a first-grade premium martial skill. Although this martial skill was not as strong as the Exploding Wolf Punch, the power was daunting enough when three prodigies at the middle stage of the demi-god level used it to attack jackie altogether.
“Hmph! I’d like to see what you’ll do this time, jackie.” On the observation deck, Lily—seeing how five younger masters attacked jackie altogether with strong martial skills—smiled a triumphant smile.
She knew jackie was as good as gone. That guy was delusional when he said he wanted to win the competition.
“Haha… A big wave is coming!” However, jackie only smiled indifferently when he saw the attacks and remained unperturbed.
All of a sudden, jackie let out a loud roar as he balled his hands into fists. Chi surged from his fists as jackie bent his knees and threw his punch.
The group of five had just appeared before jackie, aiming toward him when he threw his punch.
They initially thought that their attacks, when combined, would overpower jackie, making him lose.
That was what they believed until they saw wave after wave before them. These waves were illusions that rushed toward them from jackie’s fists without relief. The waves merged and became an invisible yet strong impact!
A loud blast could be heard and the strong power blew all five people away. They banged into the stone slabs under the competition stage like kites with broken strings.
All five prodigies helplessly vomited blood still mid-air, flying from jackie’s attack.
They vomited blood again when they crashed to the ground. They laid on the floor and felt as if their body was going to break.
“How’s this possible?!” The eyes of Martin and the others were filled with disbelief. They could not believe that they could not topple jackie, even as all five of them joined forces. The guy in front of them was incredibly powerful.
“What martial skill is this?!” The First Elder, who was on the observation stage, stood up. His eyes lit up and seemed excited. “That’s no simple martial skill and definitely isn’t a first-grade martial skill. It looks like a second-grade martial skill!”
Titus, who was by the First Elder’s side, chimed in, “Above all, that’s a rare martial skill capable of attacking a group of people simultaneously. If it has such good effects when it’s being used by a demi-god-level martial artist, the attack power when it’s being used by a real god-level martial artist would be far more terrifying!”
“That’s right! If a real god-level martial artist uses this martial skill, the skill can attack externally. It’s terrifying when you think about how a big wave shoots outward!” Nash was pleased as well. That martial skill was not only a high-level skill, but it was also a skill that could carry out group attacks, and not everyone knew of it. Nobody knew that jackie had such a great martial skill.
“Im… Impossible!” Lily’s smile disappeared, replaced by the look of shock.
She could not believe that masters like Hudson and Liah, who had the possibility of becoming the champion, would also be eliminated by jackie.
If this was the case, there was no doubt about the champion position as some of the people left on the competition stage were not as strong as Hudson and the others.
“Haha! You truly didn’t let me down!” Nash, who was beside Lily, was overjoyed at the outcome. “This is my son—the son of Nash White!”
Lily shot Nash a glare, so furious that sounds of bones cracking could be heard from her tightly balled fists.
She never expected that this illegitimate child would have such impressive talents and combat ability.
“This is great! The other masters should be convinced with such a person being their family master’s heir!” Many of the branch families’ masters thought about it before speaking in extreme shock.
The competition truly exceeded their expectations. The people that they thought had the ability to fight were all eliminated. Instead, Young Master jackie, the illegitimate child who grew up in the outside world and the one they had just met, excelled in the competition.
“This is great! There’s hope for us to get to the top five!” Not many contenders were left on the stage at that moment, and several men who were at the middle stage of the demi-god level were elated at the prospects.
They had thought it would be impossible for them to get to the top five placement, but they never expected that jackie would eliminate five to six masters in one go. Even masters like Hudson, Martin, and Liah—who were in the last stage of the demi-god level—were eliminated by jackie.
“What…?” Beth, who stood not far away from jackie, was stupefied. She was the First Elder’s daughter, and her father purposely asked her before the competition to help jackie whenever there was a chance.
They never thought that his combat prowess would exceed the rest.
She was stupefied when she saw the scene in front of her.
Both her and jackie stood on the stage, but nobody dared fight them as everybody knew defeating them was impossible.
Beth had a tight smile on her face. It looked like she was going to proceed to the next round and be in the top five without doing anything.
Moreover, she might even be the competition’s first runner-up, given the situation at hand.
“What is it? I’m thankful for your offer, Beth, but I really don’t need your help,” said the smiling jackiet to Beth when he saw her stunned on the spot.
“You’re really too strong! What grade is that martial skill you’ve performed just now? I feel that it’s a second-grade martial skill. If that’s not the case, how can you defeat them when you’re only mid-way the demi-god level?” Beth smiled bitterly. She thought about it and continued speaking. “With your attack just now, I feel that you should be at the peak stage of the demi-god level. You’re really strong—your prowess almost matches that of Lance’s!”
jackie became sheepish at that; it surprised him at how they would say his prowess had reached the peak of the demi-god level.
Still, it made sense when he thought about it. After all, he did not carry out attacks where his Chi left his body, and it was natural that they did not know that he was already in the real god-level. It was best if he could win the competition while still hiding his true power.
“Big Wave Hits—a second-grade intermediate martial skill. It’s handy,” replied jackie with an indifferent smile.
Beth’s eyes lit up when she heard this and she said with a smile. “Second-grade intermediate? That astounding skill can be used for group attacks. I think the master will ask you to contribute it so that all the White family members can learn this skill, too!
“You’re now the family master’s inheritor, and you’ll be the master in the future. You won’t refuse to help the White family, right?”
Beth’s excitement baffled jackie; she was obviously interested in his martial skills, too.
He gave a weak smile as he replied, “It’s still too early to assume things. I’m not the inheritor yet, and I can only be considered as one of the top five.”
Beth rolled her eyes at jackie and said, “Stop being so humble! Which one of these people can beat you? There’s no doubt about the result!”
Everything happened just as Beth predicted it to be, and there were no doubts about the results. jackie, Beth, and three others were left on the stage, and all five of them instantly emerged as the competition’s top five.
Every person who won the top five position got a first-grade premium spirited grass as their reward, much to their joy.
Hudson, Martin, and the others sat on the floor below the stage as they tended to their wounds, all while they wore a soured expression.
They originally had hoped of being in the top five and obtaining the spirited grass, but not only did they fail to defeat jackie, but they failed to obtain the spirited grass as well.
Hudson glanced at Lily who was on the observation stage and thought to himself, ‘If I knew that this guy was that talented, I wouldn’t have thought about what rewards Lily would’ve given me. Now, I have nothing!’
Everything that happened afterward was just like how everybody imagined it to be: jackie was crowned champion while Beth was the first runner-up.
“Let me announce that the martial arts competition has come to an end. Congratulations to Young Master jackie for winning the competition and becoming the family master inheritor. He obtains the right to keep and use the White family’s treasure, Cyro Pearl, but he’ll need to inform all elders before he could use it,” the Fourth Elder, Wendy Wind announced loudly on the competition stage. “I invite Young Master jackie to come up to the stage and receive his reward!”
jackie exhaled heavily before wearing a small smile. He flew upward to the competition stage and arrived before the Fourth Elder.
“Young man, is the power of a second-grade martial skill? How did you obtain it?” Wendy could not keep her question at bay as she softly asked, passing the Cyro Pearl to jackie as she did.
jackie smiled sheepishly and said, “I was lucky to obtain it, but I can tell you that it’s a second-grade intermediate martial skill.”
“A second-grade intermediate skill is a really good one. Even the White family only has several.” Wendy smiled indifferently.
jackie nodded. He then raised the cold Cyro Pearl up and announced, “I plan to use this Cyro Pearl later as one of my brothers is badly hurt, hanging only onto his last breath. The Cyro Pearl is one of the reasons I joined this competition! Since everybody is here, I’m notifying all of you now.”
At this moment, the Third Elder—pissed off at the competition’s outcome—slowly stood up and spoke in his slightly worn-out voice, “I don’t think that your friend is badly hurt. I had a good look at his body, and his wounds are superficial. The most crucial point is that someone had trained him into a puppet, so his body is extremely stiff while his breath of life has been reduced to an extremely small amount. Won’t it be wasteful to use our White family treasure on someone like this?”
“Puppet? Why did his brother become a puppet?”
“Oh, my! Such evil skills really exist?”
Hushed murmurs spread throughout the square after hearing what the Third Elder had to say.
Startled, the First Elder immediately asked, “ jackie, is the Third Elder telling the truth? Why did your brother become a puppet? Why do such evil ways still exist?”
“There really are such skills in this world, but they don’t exist in Daxia. This was the work of a mysterious power from overseas,” answered jackie, his fists tightening as he did. “We had already killed their people before, but I’m not sure if there are still people in this group or even how many still live on.”
The Third Elder thought about it before folding his hands behind his back and firmly said, “I object to you using the Cyro Pearl on your brother.”
jackie did not expect that the Third elder would fail to contain himself and stepped forward to make him look bad.
He smiled indifferently and stared at the Third Elder who stood high up on the observation stage. “Really?” challenged jackie. “Please explain why you’re objecting to my choice?”
The Third Elder then replied, “It’s simple. This Cyro Pearl is a treasure we’ve obtained with much difficulty, so it’s best if we use it with care. We need to think about its value before we use it. No harm is done if we’re to use the Cyro Pearl on the family master or other important people of the White family.” He let that sink before he added, “But to use it on your brother, an outsider… It doesn’t seem to fit, now does it?”
Noticing jackie’s silence, he then continued, “This is only one of the reasons. The second one is because the Cyro Pearl has no healing properties. Apart from sealing a person in ice and keeping a dead person somewhat alive, it has no other effects. Even if you seal this friend of yours right now, do you have ways to treat him later on? He won’t escape the fate of dying if you don’t have the means to treat him after you unseal him.”
At the same time, Lily also laughed and stood up. “That’s right. Putting the fact that you’re using this on an outsider aside, the most crucial point is if you can revive a puppet. Haha…! I’d say that’s rather impossible. It’s better that you end that once and for all.”
Many people started discussing among themselves after they heard what the Third Elder and Lily said, sharing their opinion that it was indeed wasteful to use such a treasure on an outsider when there was no definite way of saving that person.
Apart from that, there was only one Cyro Pearl, and it would be gone after it was used.
jackie smiled and said, “Firstly, I’ve won the competition, and the Cyo Pearl is my reward. Am I not right to say that nobody has the right to interfere with how I use this pearl or who I use it on? Secondly, I’ll definitely search for a way to cure my brother after I’ve frozen him. How I treat him seems to have nothing to do with you.”
“Haha… You’ve got a point, Young Master jackie. Indeed, we have no right to intervene since this item belongs to you, and based on the rules, you can use it however you like. I’m merely providing a suggestion, and you can choose to ignore the suggestions from us, the elders.” Wade chuckled aloud, satisfied with jackie’s reply.
He knew jackie would not just give up on saving his friend.
However, the other Elders and everyone else would naturally have some comments based on what jackie had said. They would feel that jackie liked to do things his way without thinking about the bigger picture or listening to the recommendations from other people. A person with such characteristics was naturally unsuited to be the future family master.
The reason Wade stood forward and said the things he did was to lead jackie so he would leave a bad impression in the hearts of the other Elders.
Nash was not stupid; he noticed what Wade was trying to do. He smiled and stood up. “To be honest, the Cyro Pearl is a treasure when we say that it is because it can freeze up an area the size of a room. Even if you’re a dying man, it can also remain the person’s condition after being frozen with the Cyro Pearl. However, this pearl can also not be considered a treasure as it has no healing properties. It doesn’t have any other functions apart from freezing things up.”
Many people nodded after they heard what Nash said—seemed as though this Cyro Pearl was not such an extremely important object after all.
Once the noises of the people’s discussions died down, Nash continued, “Apart from that, we’re one of the eight shadow families, and we need to keep our promises. Since we’ve promised to give this pearl to the champion and jackie won the competition, the pearl belongs to him. He’s entitled to do whatever he wants with it. Doesn’t that make sense, everyone?”
“Yes, Master is right. I feel that this belongs to jackie, so on what grounds can we interfere with how he uses it? If it was mine, I’d use it based on my needs!” said the Seventh Elder confidently once he stood up. “Young Master jackie is so talented at such a young age. To me, Young Master jackie is the true treasure. He returned regardless of previous unpleasantries and became our family master’s inheritor. Compared to the Cyro Pearl, Young Master jackie is the treasure with unlimited possibilities that the gods gave us!”
The Sixth Elder was slightly stunned, but he also stepped forward and smilingly said, “Yes, Young Master jackie is really talented. Young Master Lance isn’t here today, but I don’t think he could receive the attack we’ve just seen if he’s here.”
Meanwhile, a branch family master also stood up and chimed in, “Yes, we strongly support Young Master jackie. Young Master jackie is so talented, and we’re convinced that he becomes the family master’s inheritor. I believe that with Young Master jackie’s talents, it’ll only take him another one to two years to break through and achieve the primary stage of the real god-level!”
The corners of the Third Elder’s mouth twitched several times when he heard this. These people must have stood forward with such an attitude because jackie was the current inheritor. They wanted to please jackie as he would be the future family master once Nash would pass on.
After all, if they stood forward and spoke on jackie’s behalf, they would become closer to jackie and he would remember them. Their future lives would be much better then.
Lily, who was by their side, had a darkened expression on her face. “What you’re saying is too overboard,” she seethed. “Isn’t my son, Lance, talented as well? Haha… My son might have reached the true god-level by now. After all, he’s only one step away from the true god-level, and he’s been away from home for two to three months. How can jackie be his opponent if he had already achieved the true god-level?”
“What the eldest madam says makes sense. If Young Master Lance is back, the competition would be a fight between two great masters!” A man from the Lagorio family, who happened to be an elder, slightly smiled as he spoke. “Nobody could anticipate the results, and we can only say that jackie is lucky. After all, the condition of our Young Master Lance is still unknown!”
“Alright, let’s stop discussing this and settle down on what happened today. Now that the competition has ended and jackie is the inheritor, he can do what he wants with the Cyro Pearl. Let’s stop this gathering.” Nash waved his hand and gestured for everybody to leave.
“Congratulations! Congratulations! Congratulations to Young Master jackie for becoming the inheritor to our family master!” Many people started leaving. jackie had just come down from the competition stage when some masters of the branch family immediately surrounded jackie to congratulate him.
Another old man with white hair also walked forward to jackie, gesturing politely as he praised, “Indeed! It must’ve been difficult for you to rise from the common world, Young Master jackie. It’s really rare to have such talents. Truly, you’ll lead the White family on a glorious path!”
“Oh, yes, I’m not very clear about certain situations in the branch families. If any of you are free, please stay and leave tomorrow. We’ll have a gathering at my place and talk about the issues among the branch family while we drink. After all, I’ve just returned to the White family, and there are many things that I don’t understand,” commented jackie as he smiled to the crowd.
“Sure! Haha… Then I, Lancelot White am staying, and I’ll only head home tomorrow so I can have a drink or two with Young Master jackie!” replied Lancelot, chuckling as he did. The eyes of this branch family master lit up when he heard what jackie said.
After all, every previous member of the main family was arrogant and never paid heed to suggestions from the branch families. Was it possible that Young Master jackie planned to start caring about the branch families’ situation? If that was the case, that would be miraculous how members of the main family paid more attention to the branch families!
The branch families, in their own rights, had many prodigies among them, but they had limited resources for enhancing their martial status—they had to hand in most of their materials, after all. As a result, prodigies of the branch families were neglected.
jackie thought about it and said to the crowd, “Sure! Anybody who wants to come over can come, but make sure that there aren’t too many of you as my living quarters can’t contain so many people. Moreover, too many of you might attract unnecessary attention, and I’m afraid of what others would say.”
The branch family masters were no fools. After all, jackie had just returned, and although he became the inheritor of the family master with his own strength, there were many among the branch families who did not want him to be the inheritor. People like Lily were obviously unhappy about jackie inheriting this position.
However, the rules and notices of this competition had been announced previously. Coupled with the fact that this was an extremely fair-and-square way, most of the people approved this competition and accepted the competition’s outcome. Hence, Lily and the others dared not say anything even though they were inwardly displeased. They could do nothing else but accept the result.
“Alright, I need to head back now and see my friend. Let’s meet tonight. It’ll be easier when the sky turns dark.” jackie smiled and soon asked the branch family members to leave.
jackie did not want to inherit the White family master’s position, but it was clear that those who poisoned his father did not want him to be this inheritor. jackie thus decided to take up the mantle, and he would excel stellarly in it. In that case, the other party would definitely want to kill him.
It would be easier for the other party to unmask their true identities under such circumstances. By then, he would be able to identify if it was Lily and the others. He could think of a way to kill these people once their identities were revealed.
After the members from the branch families left, Elaine, Selena, and the others walked toward jackie.
Selena came closer and smilingly gushed, “Congratulations, Honey, you’re now the family master inheritor. You’ve gone up the ranks, and rather highly at that!”
“There’s nothing worth congratulating me for. To be honest, I didn’t want to be the inheritor.” jackie smiled bitterly. “However, to get this Cyro Pearl and find out the person who poisoned my father, I’ve no other choice but to take up the family master title.”
“Hey, this is such an important thing. You’re the family master inheritor now, and that means you’re the future White family master!” Ben stared at jackie. “Many people wished for something as good as this to happen to them, but you, on the other hand, are reluctant! Think about it: My sister and I won’t lack resources for enhancing martial statuses once you inherit the title!”
“Don’t worry, you won’t lack materials even if I don’t be the family master inheritor,” assured jackie. “After all, martial artists don’t need so much resources for the enhancement of martial status. I can get several Chi Congregation Pills as I’m a member of the White main family!”
“That won’t work,” Elaine chimed in afterward. “Think about it… They dared send people to assassinate you when you were outside. They won’t have the guts to harm you if you’re the family master inheritor, even though they desperately want to kill you. You’re safe in the White main family! However, if you’re not the family master inheritor, some people might not give you face!” Elaine paused here before continuing to speak with a bitter smile on her face, “However, they wanted to get rid of you before you returned. They’re probably getting antsy now that you’re here, just wanting to get rid of you.”
“Yes, jackie. It’s best if you don’t simply leave the White main family. At least the First Elder and Second Elder would protect you when you’re still at the main family. We’d be in trouble if you sneak out by yourself!” Lana, who was beside them, also reminded jackie.
“Alright, I understand, but I don’t feel that normal people can kill me with my martial level!” jackie gave a small smile as he tightened his fists. “Fighting with these people today made me understand my combat power even more. I feel like I won’t have a problem killing people of other levels with my combat power! It seems like the training technique we’ve used is no low-level technique!”
“Yes, now let’s go. We need to visit Fernando and use this Cyro Pearl soon. I’m afraid that your senior won’t hold on if we don’t use it quickly.”
jackie led everyone to a cave.
There was a stone room inside the cave, and many White family members stood guard at the entrance.
Inside, Fernando lied on a stone bed as Ethan kept watch silently.
Ethan broke into a smile when he saw jackie coming over. “Master, how did it go? You must’ve succeeded with your martial level! I’ve analyzed Senior’s situation again, and his breath is rather weak. If we don’t freeze him now, he might not make it tomorrow.”
jackie nodded. He flipped his hand and took the Cyro Pearl out. “I’ve gotten the item. Let’s freeze him now.”
jackie walked forward to inspect Fernando’s form afterward, noticing that his breath of life had indeed weakened. If they did not freeze him, it would be impossible to save him the following day.
They were fortunate that the old man from the mysterious group was in a hurry to kill him and the others, so he did not linger to wait for Fernando to be a complete puppet. He used Fernando in his fights when Fernando still had a slight sense of intelligence and breath of life.
If the other party had waited a couple more days for Fernando’s breath of life to completely disappear before using him in battles, Fernando would have been dead.
jackie’s eyes turned red when he thought of Fernando—the man who once made great achievements on the battlefield—had fallen into such a poor state.
Exhaling heavily, jackie took the Cyro Pearl, gently opened Fernando’s mouth, and placed the pearl into his mouth.
Once done, jackie tapped one of his fingers on the pearl, and strands of Chi appeared from his fingertip into the Cyro Pearl with his thoughts.
With the Chi entering the Cyro Pearl, it slowly emitted a faint blue light.
As the blue light grew stronger, jackie removed his finger and stood up.
The light shone as ice crystals emerged continuously. The temperature of their surroundings also started to drop.
“Go, step back.”
jackie relaxed when he saw Fernando’s body frozen little by little. The ice crystals gradually increased and thickened.
jackie had no methods of curing Fernando, but at least he would not perish in his frozen status. Of course, jackie had to come up with a method to heal Fernando.
Not long later, Fernando’s entire stone bed was frozen and he was entombed as though it was an ice coffin.
“Incredible… I had no idea that the pearl would be that useful!” blurted Ben at the sight of how the pearl worked. “There really are all sorts of precious items in this world. Such a precious item must be worth lots of money if we sell it in an auction!”
Elaine rolled her eyes at him in response. “Who’d sell such a precious item? They’d be a fool to do that.”
jackie smiled bitterly and said, “It’s not worth that much because this item can only be used once. The pearl would disappear when the ice coffin is opened.”
Selena, who was beside, thought about it and asked, “But Honey, Lily and the others are malicious people. What if they come in and destroy this ice coffin when nobody is here? Won’t that be a grave problem?”
jackie’s heart was filled with a warm feeling when he saw Selena’s worried face, and he smilingly assured, “This isn’t just a regular treasure. Once this ice coffin freezes Fernando, nobody would be able to destroy it. Even a master of the true god-level won’t be able to forcefully destroy the coffin. How could it be the White family’s treasure if that’s not the case?”
“Oh my… It’s that amazing? It’s really that strong?” Ben exclaimed when he heard what jackie said. However, he soon frowned again and said, “How should we undo this freeze on Fernando when you find a way to heal him in the future?”
To Ben’s question, jackie explained, “When I inserted the Chi, I inserted a strand of my mental strength into it. You guys still can’t use this mental strength yet at the moment. This mental strength is an invisible and mysterious power. You guys can’t see it, and you can only feel and use it after reaching the true god-level.
“If I want to undo this freeze, I just need to connect to the Cyro Pearl through my thoughts. The freeze would be undone after I communicated with it.”
“Alright, we should leave. This place is ice-cold right now!”
“We’re fine, but you and Selena are not martial artists yet, so your body quality is bad when compared to us,” stated jackie. “You might get a cold if you stay here too long.”
The group soon walked out of the cave.
Ethan thought about it before asking jackie, “But Master, we can only prevent Fernando from dying right now; it’d be difficult if we want to heal him. His body has totally stiffened, and so have his muscles and stones. He’s like a stone right now. How are we going to save him? I’m out of ideas, really.”
jackie smiled bitterly before speaking, “Truthfully, I don’t know myself, and all I can do right now is stop him from dying.”
jackie’s reply flustered everyone else. They had no idea that even jackie had not thought of ways to save Fernando.
“How’s that possible? Does that mean we’ll have to keep him frozen forever? That’s no different than dying.” Ben could not help but smiled bitterly as he followed jackie on the way back.
“That won’t happen. I know a family who has a precious item—a medical book. I heard that this book is very powerful, and there’s a possibility for us to find ways from the book.”
jackie fell silent for a moment as he thought of something, a tight smile appearing on his face afterward. “Sadly, we’re in trouble because the White family has a bad relationship with this family, and we can be considered as enemies. The most crucial point is that they’re one of the eight shadow families, and they’re very strong. They might not show us the medical book.”
Ben felt that he was in trouble after he heard this.
“Sigh… Let’s talk about it later. At least Fernando is still alive now, and I’ll try anything as long as there’s hope!” jackie sighed again and said, “What we need to do now is to wash your bodies and make you martial artists before leading you guys onto the path of training. Apart from that, there’s also my father’s poison. I already know what medication I need to help cure my father based on his body’s condition, but finding those herbs is difficult.”
“Yes, we can halt with Fernando’s issue right now as it’s not that urgent. However, we need to think of a way to help treat your father.” Ethan also nodded after he heard what jackie said.
“I have several herbs with me, but I’m still short of a few others. Of course, I’ll try my best to think of a way to resolve my father’s ailment.” jackie smiled.
The group soon arrived at their living quarters.
Meanwhile, Lily was seething in her room, feeling as though her heart was blocked by something. “I’m furious! This bastard kid actually has such high fighting prowess, and he even knows a second-grade intermediate martial skill. Oh, that boils my blood!”
Lily had thought of asking Hudson and the others to kill jackie during the martial arts competition; they could say that their hands slipped or that they failed to control their power.
Even if they failed to kill jackie, they could have at least stopped him from becoming the champion and obtaining the family master’s inheritor.
It was to everyone’s bewilderment that that young man managed to suppress everybody in that competition and obtained the position the family master acknowledged. He even obtained the White family treasure, Cyro Pearl.
“Who knows where that wretch got such a martial skill!” The Third Elder sat by the table in the room and drank a mouthful of white liquor. He then growled, “I estimate that this young man’s martial level is already at the peak stage of the demi-god level. Together with the second-grade intermediate martial skill, it really was easy for him to be the competition’s champion.”
“It seems like his technique is very powerful, too, and it’s no surprise he won with that martial skill of his!” fumed Lily, her expression darkening as she did. “What infuriates me more is how some of the elders are behaving. jackie’s yet to be the official family master, yet they buttered him and flattered him since he’s the family master inheritor!”
“Well, what can we do?” said Wade with a smirk. “Everybody knows that although jackie is the family master inheritor, Nash won’t live for much longer. In fact, it’ll be a miracle if he lived for another two months! Hence, they naturally think that jackie will soon become the family master. This is why they want to flatter him before that happens.”
“We must kill jackie, though that guy surely won’t leave the White family. We can’t take any actions as long as he stays with the White family.” Lily frowned as she could not think of a way right now.
“Haha… jackie is really talented, but his martial level is still rather bland. He’s not something we should worry about, considering he won’t impede us much!” Wade laughed at this moment and said, “Although his return had disrupted our plans, his martial level is too low, so he won’t bring much effect. The person we need to worry about right now is the First Elder. I feel that I should concentrate on retreating and training. We’d have no need to fear the First Elder once I reached the fighting prowess at the peak stage of the true god-level!”
“Sigh… Seems like that’s the only option we have right now,” Lily sighed, her heart filled with helplessness.
As darkness filled the sky, several branch family masters came to jackie’s living quarters silently with elders of the branch families.
jackie had already prepared good food and wine on the table as he waited for them.
“Oh my…! Young Master jackie, this is too much! You’ve prepared so much food!” The white-hair old man chuckled heartily at the sight.
“Haha… Elaine said that this is the meat of monster beasts, and consuming it benefits the body. I definitely need to eat more today!” There were two tables in the garden. Ben laughed when he saw the meat on the table and his saliva almost dripped from his mouth.
What jackie said next, however, seized him. “You, Selena, and my mother need to eat less. Although this meat is beneficial, your body can’t take it if you eat too much, considering you guys are not martial artists yet and this is your first time eating this. Sure, these monster beasts are low-leveled, but don’t eat too much of it.”
Elaine nodded to jackie’s reminder and chimed in, “That’s right. You can’t eat too much!”
“Oh, dear… This meat smells so good, but we can’t eat too much of it,” grumbled Ben as he swallowed his saliva.
“Everybody, come and take your seats. There’s no need for any formalities!” jackie smiled and said to the masters of the branch families. “We’re all members of the White family and, by right, makes us one whole family. Everybody must enjoy themselves when we drink later, alright?”
“Yes, yes! Young Master is correct!” Everybody sat down smiling and started drinking.
After a while, jackie turned to Lancelot and said, “By the way, Lancelot, is everything alright within the branch families? Let me know if there’s anything to be done. I’m not very familiar with the situation among the branch families.”
Lancelot opened his mouth as he hesitated to speak openly, and he instinctively glanced at the other branch family masters.
They looked like they wanted to speak but were afraid to do so.
jackie immediately comforted them when he saw their reactions. “Don’t worry, just speak openly. I won’t tell anybody, so you don’t need to worry too much.”
Lancelot was quiet for several seconds before he began, “Young Master, how should I put it? The branch families had always been supporting the main family. Even the monster beast meat that you’re eating comes from the beasts that we’ve hunted in the forest. We sacrifice our lives every month, supplying and sending the meat. Apart from that, we also supply spirited grass. These are the things we supply, and we make sure that we supply those of good quality. We genuinely hope that the main family can grow stronger.”
Lancelot paused here, glanced at the crowd, and added, “Truthfully, this is nothing because the main family has grown strong, and we’re satisfied with the development of the main family.”
“If that’s the case, what do you actually wish to say?” jackie frowned and continued to push on the matter.
Lancelot replied, “Yet… The White family seldom cares about our situation after it grew in these couple of years. Not only did they not spare us some martial enhancement resources, but they even requested for more!”
Chad, the old man with white hair, also nodded. “Yes, we only needed to send in fifty percent of what we got in the beginning, but it gradually increased to sixty or seventy percent in recent years. We didn’t complain about anything, but several months ago, they increased our requirement to eighty percent. If we’re lucky enough to get a hundred spirited grass, we need to give eighty pieces to the main family and can only keep the remaining twenty for ourselves!”
“You had to hand in that much?” jackie’s face darkened when he heard this—that went too far. After all, these people from the branch families risked their lives and went into the forest to find spirited grass and food, yet the main family only allowed them to keep 20 percent of what they obtained. The grievance in their hearts would only deepen if this continued.
jackie thought about it before he solemnly asked, “Does my father know about this?”
“We don’t know if the master knows about this, and we dared not ask. We’re afraid of offending others if we ask too many questions.” The old man was one of the branch family masters. He spoke with a frown, and helplessness was written all over his face.
It was apparent that they feared the main family members while wanting to get more martial enhancement resources for the branch families.
“Who’s in charge of these things?” questioned jackie.
“First Elder was in charge when the requirement was fifty percent, but he then had to manage other things, thus Third Elder was placed in charge of the matter.” Lancelot smiled. “Not long after he was tasked with managing the martial enhancement resources, he told us that the upper management decided to raise it to sixty percent, concluded in a meeting.
“He said that the main family had developed well and many of their youngsters had breakthroughs. We were asked to be considerate toward the main family and sacrifice a bit more. They also said that they’ll let us keep some of the resources after the family master gets better.”
Chad, the old man with white hair, also nodded. “Yes, and we understood the difficulties the family master faced. After all, it was best to concentrate the resources and let a small amount of people breakthrough, and that’s why no one said anything. Alas, the amount increased again not long after that.”
Another old man chimed in, “Yes. Several people voiced their unhappiness when the requirement rose to seventy percent, but the Third Elder killed them in front of everybody else. He was furious, indeed, saying that the branch family members are inconsiderate and even said that we’re supposed to serve the main family!”
These people from the branch families were obviously angry but they dared not say it out loud. They could only hold it in as there was strict management between the main and branch families.
A thought then occurred to jackie as he prodded, “By the way, are these resources safely kept by the Third Elder after they’re collected?”
He finally understood what was going in. He seriously suspected that the non-stop increase in the resources submission from the branch families was not his father’s idea, and it was the Third Elder’s action alone.
The Third Elder was afraid that his actions would be exposed, which was why he killed those against the requirement and him, effectively silencing the branch family members despite their anger.
Apart from that, the branch families were far away from the main family, and it was difficult for them to come to the main family under normal circumstances. Even if they were to come, they might not be able to meet anyone from the main family.
Moreover, they feared that that was what the main family wanted and that the Third Elder would kill them, so they could only keep themselves in check and endure it throughout the years.
jackie felt that the reason they could muster their courage and tell him what happened was that he was not a member of the main family before this, and it helped that he himself invited them to stay for drinks and share whatever they had in mind. These family masters were brave enough to tell him everything because of that.
Lancelot said, “Our family master must be afraid that if only one person was placed in charge of these things, embezzlement might take place, thus the Third Elder is only in charge of collecting these resources. He would need to submit these resources to the First Madam—she’s in charge of allocating the resources and doing the accounts, after all.”
jackie’s expression darkened when he heard that, and everything clicked for him.
Today, the Third Elder had openly spoken on Lily’s behalf, and coupled with that were the rumors about how close they were as of late. This made him sure that Lily and the Third Elder were working together and were responsible for poisoning his father.
It seemed like that was not all. They must have worked together to embezzle lots of martial enhancement resources.
A few of the branch family masters were rather unnerved when they noted how silent jackie was with a grave expression.
One of the branch family elders immediately shifted the conversation and said, “Young Master jackie, don’t misunderstand us. We’re saying this without resentment, just to get things off of our chests. We feel that the branch families lack martial enhancement resources, nothing more than that!”
Another of the branch family masters said, “Come, let’s drink, Young Master jackie. We never suspected Third Elder and First Madam, especially First Madam. She’s the family master’s wife, so we’re sure that she won’t do something like this!”
Lancelot was also afraid of jackie getting angry and that everything was really the main family’s idea. He quickly held his wine glass up. “Yes, Young Master jackie. We’re only talking about it and we dare not make assumptions. Apart from that, the main family had developed nicely, and we’re finally one of the eight shadow families. We’re happy that the family has grown!”
jackie looked at the crowd before saying. “Don’t be afraid. I invited everyone here so I can hear your concerns and pleas. I’m not sure why they collected that many martial enhancement resources, and I’m also unsure if this is the decision my father and the other elders came to after the meeting. I’ll ask about this on everyone’s behalf.”
Startled, Chad blurted, “No, no, no…! Young Master jackie, if you’re to ask, the Third Elder and First Madam will be downright enraged when they know about this. It won’t matter what’s going on: we’d be killed!”
“That’s right, Young Master jackie,” Lancelot added. “If you asked, and if this truly was the decision everybody made in the meeting, the Third Elder would be unhappy and say that we conspired against him. However, if this was not the decision made by the main family members and somebody was hiding the martial enhancement resources, they’d be just as angry, and we’d still suffer the fate of being killed.”
jackie smiled and raised his wine glass when he saw the frightened expression on the other party’s face. “Come, let’s raise our glasses and finish this drink!”
The group of people glanced at each other anxiously, not knowing what jackie was thinking. They carefully finished the wine in their glasses when they saw how jackie finished his.
jackie placed the glass down and said softly, “Don’t worry, I’m not stupid. I’ll secretly ask my father about this, and I won’t let the Third Elder and First Madam know about it.”
The branch family members relaxed when they heard what jackie said.
“Thank you, Young Master jackie!” Lancelot immediately gestured to jackie with a sincere expression on his face.
“Master Lancelot, how about this: Tomorrow, find a place to gather after all of you leave the main family area. Master Lancelot should come to me alone tomorrow morning. I’ll inform you about the situation, and you can pass the message to the others.”
jackie spoke to the people in the room, convicted and with sincerity, “I’ll ask my father about what you said, and we’ll soon know what really happened. I won’t let the Third Elder and the others know about this plan. We’ll definitely handle the situation if the Third Elder and First Madam embezzled the martial enhancement resources.”
“Then, Young Master jackie, we thank you for your attentiveness to act. In fact, we just need to complain and express ourselves. We don’t need anything else!” explained an old man, carefully so. “The main reason is because there are no other ways. In fact, we have prodigies among the branch families, talented to boot, but we’re lacking resources. Dare we say that the materials we’ve got are downright scarce, and that resulted in a slow progression of their martial level. Alas, all we could do was look on in worry.”
Lancelot also nodded. “The same applies to our branch family. Those masters are very unconvinced and complain all the time. After all, they can find better treasures and spirited grass if their martial level increases. We could do nothing to help them, only offering words of consolation when they’re doubting.”
The white-haired old man also nodded. “That’s true. I promised my granddaughter before I came over this time that I’ll man up to tell members of the White main family. I didn’t keep my hopes up, though, since I didn’t know who to talk to or who to tell. I’m afraid!”
Having said that, the white-haired old man paused and glanced at jackie before he continued, “I have to thank Young Master jackie for making such a request. We discussed it and decided to tell you our concerns.”
Lancelot raised his wine glass and gave a toast to jackie. Finishing his wine in one go, he spoke, “Young Master jackie, as the White family master inheritor, you’ve honored us by inviting us to dinner. If you find this issue complicated, it’ll be fine if you don’t say anything. Kindly just disregard what we’ve said.”
jackie was very emotional when he heard these words.
There seemed to be a huge status divide between the branch and main families. Otherwise, these men from the branch families would not have been that afraid to express their worries nor would they have said such humble words.
They really wanted to tell jackie about these things as they really hoped that somebody would perform justice for them and take care of them.
However, at the same time, their hearts were filled with fear—afraid of invoking the wrath of their master. They were afraid that the Third Elder and Lily would find out about this and find trouble with the branch families. That would be the end for them.
“Don’t worry, I understand.” jackie smiled and drank the wine in his glass before he continued, “I’ll try my best. Don’t worry, it’ll get better soon. There will be new rules that are beneficial for you people.”
“Thank you, Young Master jackie! Allow me to raise a toast in your honor!” The white-haired old man was intensely moved when he heard jackie’s conviction. There were obviously very few who could understand them who were from the branch families.
Before they came, they hesitated for a long while about telling him everything that happened, afraid that jackie might be upset or even lie to them somehow. They were also worried that jackie would be afraid of the Third Elder and Lily.
It looked like jackie truly was considerate for them.
A thought then occurred to Lancelot as he slowly began, “By the way, Young Master jackie, the Third Elder has a high martial level, and Lily is your father’s first wife. You have to be careful. When I watched today’s game, First Madam didn’t seem to like you very much. Your return and everything that happened had been too sudden. I’m afraid that they won’t accept you so much in their hearts!”
After all, they had seen a lot of people fighting civil wars just for the sake of power.
“Don’t worry, I know. Come, come, let’s drink!” jackie nodded.
The group of people drank for a while before gradually leaving.
The branch family masters came to a rather secluded pavilion and sat there after leaving jackie’s living quarters.
One of them then spoke, “Everyone, do you think we can rely on Young Master jackie? It concerns me, seeing as he had just returned to the White family. I think that many people can’t accept him yet, and Lily might work against him. Moreover, he’s yet to settle down. Do you think he can truly help us?”
Another old man smilingly replied, “It matters not to me if he can help us or not. It was already difficult for him to say what he said today, but he even invited us for a meal to boot. I’ve already kept my opinion to myself for a very long time. I feel much more comfortable after I say it out.”
“Haha… Exactly! I feel much at ease too!” Lancelot laughed. He then said, “How about this: Let’s all slowly leave the main family tomorrow morning. You can wait for me at the bottom of Dragon Mountain, which isn’t far from the main family. I’ll go talk to jackie tomorrow and see what he says. After all, he did tell me to see him alone tomorrow morning.”
Chad frowned and asked, “It’s so late. Would he still go and ask his father about it?”
“That, I don’t know, but I’ll still go since he said so. I can’t just not show up!” Lancelot smiled bitterly. “Go back and sleep early. I hope that jackie can prosper continuously. If he can grow up successfully and be the family master, better days truly are ahead of us.”
After the group of branch family members left, jackie came to where Nash lived.
“Greetings, Young Master!” As he arrived at the door, two young men who were guarding the door greeted him loudly, their eyes filled with respect.
“Yes, thank you for your hard work!” jackie nodded before he continued to walk.
Before jackie entered the room, jackie heard that Nash was having a chat with Joan.
He stopped in his tracks and listened intently.
“Jo, I’m sorry for what happened to you both over the years. Sigh! I don’t know how to make it up to you two… Had the butler not told me anything, I wouldn’t have known that you didn’t receive the money I’ve sent for you. I also didn’t know that jackie didn’t get the martial art technique and martial enhancement resources I sent!” Nash, who was lying on the bed, sighed and continued to speak, “I don’t think that it’ll be easy to cure my poison. I’m not afraid of dying, but I’m genuinely afraid that Lily or the others would work against you and jackie after I die.”
Joan smiled bitterly and said, “ jackie is a great son, and he’s very outstanding. He didn’t let me down. Although he didn’t receive the things that you gave him, he still became the man he is today. I was really worried about him during the five years that he was on the battlefield, but I knew he’d return safe and sound. As expected, he came back and had grown to be who he is today.”
“Thanks to you. It was you who brought our son up to be such an excellent person.” Nash held Joan’s hand in excitement as he asked, voice laced with ardent affection, “Jo, do you hate me? Do you hate my incompetence years ago?”
Joan gave a bitter smile. “Why should I hate you?” she said. “I did hate you at the start—I hated how weak you were, and how you couldn’t take care of us!”
Here, she heaved a sigh and stood up. “But I no longer hate you. I know that you truly love me, and I can feel your sincerity,” she continued. “I also understand your helplessness. You are in this position after all. And your father and your family would never have approved of us even back then. Besides, as the master of the family, you must always take the White family into account!”
“Thank you, Joan. Thank you for being so understanding and forgiving!”
Nash’s eyes reddened. “Or maybe this is God’s punishment, to make me, the master of the White family, die on a bed instead of a battlefield,” he added. “I thought of plenty of ways I could die, but I never thought that I would be poisoned!”
Joan turned around and looked at Nash, smiling. “Don’t be so pessimistic. jackie’s very skilled in medicine. I believe that there will be a way to find an antidote—I believe that he’ll find a way!”
“I don’t think it’ll be easy. It’s extremely difficult to find a poison that can successfully take effect on a chi practitioner—what more a chi practitioner like me. It means that this poison is very lethal!”
Nash flashed a bitter smile. “ jackie probably said that earlier to console me and for me to know the truth. Are all of you on it too? All of you are probably well aware that there’s no way of finding an antidote for this poison. I’m not afraid of dying, to be honest. I’m already content because I got to see you and our brilliant son before I die!”
“Tsk tsk. Aren’t you being too sentimental for a grown man?”
No one expected jackie to walk in at this moment. He studied his father, who was lying on the bed. “Don’t worry. I didn’t give up on Fernando even when his condition was so serious,” he said. “It’ll be difficult to find the ingredients for the antidote, but I’ll get it. I already know how to treat you. So long as we get those ingredients, the antidote won’t be a problem!”
Nash was stunned. “When did you arrive?” he asked jackie.
jackie was speechless for a while. He thought for a moment before lying, “I had just arrived at the door when I heard you voicing your woes, talking about how the poison has no cure to. How little faith you have in your son!”
“Really? Hah. I don’t have to worry about anything with you around. I trust you!”
Nash laughed. He thought for a while before saying, “Oh, right. Why aren’t you asleep yet, jackie? You must be here to talk about something!”
“Bingo. I have something to talk to you about!”
jackie replied, smiling.
“All right. I’ll go back and rest first. I’ll give you two some time alone!”
Joan’s lips curved into a soft smile when she looked at jackie, then she left.
“Did you use the Cryo Pearl?”
Nash asked after Joan left.
“I did. The results are promising. It completely encased Fernando in ice!”
jackie bobbed his head and sat down by the bedside. “Father, how much tithes do we receive from the branch families every year?” he asked Nash.
Delight leaped in Nash’s heart. If jackie was starting to show concern about the White family’s matters, it seemed that he was intent on making it his own family now.
Otherwise, he would never ask about the White family matters.
Nash flashed a grin. “Well, we’ve always made them pay 50 percent. But we’ve raised this by 10 percent in recent years for the sake of developing the main family, so they give 60 percent. There’s no way about it though. The branch family members have to make some sacrifices to help some of us get stronger.”
Here, appreciation crossed Nash’s expression. “The branch family members are pretty good. The Third Elder said it himself—they truly understand us, and they fully cooperate with us. They even give the best-spirited grass to us. I’m thinking of reverting the tithing to 50 percent after the main family is more stabilized.”
It was just as jackie had thought it would be. The Third Elder and Lily had been lying to everyone by taking plenty of resources for the enhancement of martial status for themselves.
“So you’ve never increased the tithing after raising it to 60 percent? Not even once?”
jackie asked again just to make sure.
Nash did not think twice before answering, “60 percent is plenty enough. The other big families only make their branch families give 50 percent. Sometimes, people from the main family will even help to find resources. But here, we wanted everyone to focus on their training and get stronger. That’s why we had the branch families find the resources and give 60 percent to us!”
After he said that, Nash also realized that something was amiss. jackie would not have come over in the middle of the night if there were no problems. Why did he ask such questions anyway?
A crease formed between his brows. “What did you hear, jackie?” he tentatively asked his son. “What do you know?”
jackie bobbed his head. “Father, you have to promise me that you will not breathe a single word about this to the Third Elder and Lily!”
“Don’t worry. I’m not a chatterbox! I’m discrete enough to keep a secret!”
Nash offered a smile. “Don’t tell me that they’ve secretly made the branch families give more resources?” he guessed.
“Why should they stop at some? They made the branch families give 70 percent before, and now they’ve raised it to 80 percent. The branch families barely have anything for themselves, and they’re afraid that we’ll continue to raise the tithe—and they won’t be able to survive then. But they’ve held their dissent in, all this while. They told me in secret just today!”
jackie was extremely furious. He clenched his fists.
Nash was furious as well after he heard this. He clenched his fists and yelled.
However, just as he said that a surge of blood spat out of his mouth. Color immediately leached from his face.
“Don’t be angry, Father. Your body is weak now. The medicine I gave you can suppress your symptoms for a while, but not for long either. Please don’t get mad, or your condition will worsen!”
jackie was shocked when he saw this. He quickly grabbed a tissue to wipe any traces of blood away from the corners of Nash’s mouth.
“This blood is nothing, my son when I have you taking care of me.”
Nash looked at jackie, elated.
When he heard this, warmth filled jackie’s heart. “Don’t worry. I’ll help to treat your condition,” he said, smiling. “Now I’m suspecting that it was Lily who administered the poison. She already sent assassins after me in Middle Province. Who’s to say that she won’t do something like this!”
“Ah. She sent assassins after you, and the Ninth Patronum—who are in a good relationship with the Third Elder and the others—was waiting to kill you at the entrance. Furthermore, she joined hands with the Third Elder to take some of the martial art resources for themselves by raising the tithe. They’ve made their linkage clear before us!”
jackie released a sigh. “I’d be a fool to not believe it even after all this!” he said impatiently.
“What should we do now, Father? I think it’ll be difficult. After all, the Third Elder is a powerful chi practitioner. The only one who can probably match him now is the First Elder! That’s why we have no way of weeding them out.
“And Lily is no slouch either. More importantly, she’s the first daughter of the Lagorio family. We’ll thoroughly ruin our relations with the Lagorio family if we kill her. The Lagorio family has fallen, but they’re not weak. If we get into a war, there are a few elders from the Lagorio family here that might side with them. So..”
jackie frowned when he considered the situation. He truly felt that there was no easy way to go about this.
If they truly fought, there were plenty of servants from the Lagorio family in the White family who might take their original family’s side. Even if the White family emerged victorious from the feud, both sides would take grave blows.
Besides, it had not been easy for the White family to have grown so strong—to finally stand among the Eight Shadow Families. If they entered a familial war, they would probably drop quite a few ranks in standing, putting all of their previous effort to waste.
jackie nodded his head in approval after he heard this. “You’re truly an intelligent man. You’ve understood the situation immediately. Ah, it would probably be better if I were healthy! Honestly, I’m not afraid of killing the Third Elder and Lily—and I’m certainly not afraid of the White family losing their reputation and strength. If Lily and the others have already done such deeds, it means that they’re eager to see us fight the Lagorio family. But I’m afraid that we’ll fight against the branch families!”
jackie never thought that Nash would be able to look at the bigger picture while holding his pain in. It made jackie reevaluate his character.
It must have not been easy for this man to become the master of the White family—to be able to guide the family, step by step, until they reached where they were now, and to make difficult choices from time to time.
Now, the branch families were being forced to give 80 percent of their martial resources. If this went on, the anger and hatred stoked within them would only grow deeper—until it reaches a boiling point and explodes. By then, everything would be in chaos.
The branch families were no match for people from the main family, but if they chose to fight the main family without regard for their lives, the main family would be unable to bear the consequences.
More importantly, the members of the branch families, as well as the forces attached to the White family, totaled to about six or seventy percent.
“Father, let us not act first. We’ll just pretend that we don’t know anything. I’ll first think of a way to find the antidote for you. Your fighting skills are probably stronger than the Third Elder. So long as you get better, we can at least suppress the Third Elder!”
jackie went silent for a while before continuing, “Or we could hold a meeting to have the responsibility of receiving and making records of the tithes to someone else! What do you think?”
Nash frowned, deep in thought.
It took a long while before he finally replied, “It’s a good idea, jackie, but it’s too dangerous. Once we hand the responsibility over to other elders, it’s as though we know about how Lily and the other have secretly extorted 70 to 80 percent of martial resources from the branch families. If the other elders know about this, we can’t pretend that we are oblivious about it.
Here, Nash paused for a while before continuing, “Once the elders from the main family find out about this, chaos will erupt. We’ll enter a war anyway!”
jackie heaved a sigh. He thought about it before saying, “Then why don’t I secretly convey your opinions to the branch families? I’ll get them to hold out for one or two months. We’ll revert the tithe to 50 percent after you get better. But I do have an idea to give some benefits to the branch families!”
“Oh? Let’s hear it out!”
Nash was delighted after he heard that. He admired jackie’s intelligence and ability to remain calm. He believed that the White family would enter an era of prosperity if jackie truly became the master of the house.
“The masters of the branch families all told me that there are plenty of fighting masters among their members. Unfortunately, they don’t have enough martial resources, so their progress is slow!”
jackie smiled and sat down. “We can get the branch families to pick out two or three young people who they think have potential and let them become members of the main family,” he continued. “They’ll get to enjoy the martial resources used by the main family then. How about that? This way, the branch families will have a bit of hope, and this will soothe their dissent for a while!”
“Not bad. Why didn’t I think about it before?”
Nash’s eyes brightened. “You’ll be responsible for these newcomers then. How about that? They’ll definitely be grateful to you once they grow up, and they’ll be of great help to you. You also know that the highest honor we can have is to achieve the true god status. If you can help some of them attain true god status, they’ll be extremely powerful!”
jackie was speechless. He had just wanted to help the branch families, but Nash had taken it and twisted it into an opportunity for him to rise to the top instead.
However, after he thought about it, he nodded his head anyway. “We’ll announce this during tomorrow’s meeting. Lily and the others won’t have much of a say in it. Besides, the people from the main family have been spending all these years focusing on training. Those masters have truly grown stronger, and they’ve progressed fast, but I think that it’s about time that they go out to find resources and treasures for themselves!”
Here, jackie’s features lit up in excitement. “I believe that they can only grow stronger after experiencing true bloodshed. People from other main families all go out to find the resources themselves, getting into fights with beasts and spirits alike and struggling to stay alive. Meanwhile, if our people have no fighting experience, they’ll have huge targets on their backs even if they train themselves to be of a higher level than that of their opponents!”
Nash was extremely grateful when he heard his son’s words. He cast a solemn look at jackie. “You’re right. We can’t just think about elevating their status. If that’s the case, these fine young disciples from the White family should indeed get some real-world practice!”
Finally, Nash said, “All right, jackie. We’ll go along with your plan. I’ll announce these two decisions at the meeting tomorrow. Please help me handle the branch families! Get them to hold it out for a while longer!”
“Rest earlier, Father. I’m going back first!”
jackie nodded his head and left.
“Al–alright. My son is truly grown up. And so mature too—much more mature than Lance!”
After jackie left, Nash lay on the bed, gratitude written all over his face.
The next morning, the members of the branch family who had stayed the night began to head back.
Everything seemed normal.
However, no one thought that Hudson, who was talking to the two daughters of the White family in a pavilion, would actually observe Lancelot heading toward jackie’s place.
“Strange. Why is he going to jackie’s place? The rest of the branch family members have already left. Why hasn’t he left? Why has he gone to see jackie instead?”
Hudson frowned as he stared at Lancelot’s back, suspicion carved on his expression.
He had been thoroughly embarrassed yesterday. He had wanted to kill jackie, but he had not been able to lay even a finger on him before he was eliminated.
He had even thought that jackie would be the last contender in the world to become the champion and the heir to the White family.
“Heh. Who knows? He’s probably going to lick jackie’s boots. That guy’s the heir now, after all. Everyone knows that the Master won’t live long after contracting that strange disease. jackie will become the young master then. Plenty of people will be sucking up to him!”
A woman clad in a purple dress spoke in a sour tone, “No way about it though. The branch families are in such lowly positions. Of course, they would want to gain jackie’s favor so that their family will be able to have a better life!”
Hudson bobbed his head. “That’s true. That punk is the heir to the White family now. We shouldn’t provoke him. We’ll put ourselves in a terrible position once he becomes the family head and holds a grudge against us. He’ll definitely take his revenge on us!”
“That’s right. I never thought that a live-in son-in-law like him would rise up the ranks so quickly. What more, I never thought that an outsider would snatch the heir position when you guys or Lance were poised to take it!”
The woman answered with a cold smile. It was evident that she was displeased. “It’s so unfair!”
The corners of Hudson’s lips twitched. “Nothing we can do though. He’s the only son—and the only son of Nash, to boot. Plenty of elders from the White family also follow Nash’s orders very well, and they all serve him without a shred of doubt. If he were not the only son, he would have never become heir. He might not even have had the chance to take part in the competition!”
“I actually admire him. Think about it. He was raised in the mortal realm. Someone like that must have insane innate talent. Who wouldn’t be envious of that!”
The other young woman flashed a small smile. “We just don’t know if he’ll be able to lead us properly once he becomes the master. After all, the White family is huge. Being the master is a difficult position!”
At that moment, Lancelot had already arrived at jackie’s place.
Meanwhile, jackie had risen early. He now sat below a tree in the garden, sipping tea from his cup and waiting for Lancelot.
“Greetings, Young Master jackie! I never thought that you’d be up this early!”
Lancelot greeted jackie with a fist-to-palm salute as he stepped forward.
“Take a seat!”
jackie gave a wan smile and waited for Lancelot to sit down. “I’ve already talked to my father about your problem,” he said slowly. “We held a meeting to discuss about raising the tithe for the martial resources.”
jackie paused here for a while before continuing, “But we only raised it once, increasing it from 50 percent to 60. And we didn’t raise it anymore after that. That’s why it’s obvious that the Third Elder and the Mistress have conspired to take the martial resources you gave!”
“I never thought that they would take it for themselves!”
Although he had long suspected that this was the case, Lancelot was still shocked after jackie confirmed the fact. At the same time, anger sparked in him.
“Then what does the Master want us to do?”
In the end, Lancelot cast a heavy look at jackie. He was aware that although this corruption was confirmed, it was not going to be easy to solve it.
Furthermore, the master was suffering from a strange disease. It was possible that there were others who wanted his position.
jackie was the current heir, but he was young, and he was not that skilled yet. It would be difficult if the Third Elder wanted to launch a coup now.
jackie returned the look and raised his cup to his lips, taking a tentative sip. “He told you to hold out for a while longer first. Spread the word about this to the other heads of the branch families in secret,” he said. “The situation’s complicated now. I believe that it’ll get better after two or three months!”
After he heard this, disappointment flashed in Lancelot’s eyes.
Still, he quickly tempered himself and forced a smile. “Thank you, Young Master. Thank goodness that Master knows about who the ones working behind his back are,” he said. “He’s not in the best condition right now, and the Mistress is the first daughter of the Lagorio family. This is definitely complicated!”
He never thought that jackie would smile at this moment. “However, after discussing a little further with my father, we agreed that every branch family as well as affiliated families are able to choose two or three of their master youths every month to join the training in the main family. They’ll receive the same treatment as the disciples in the main family do!”
Lancelot’s eyes immediately brightened when he heard this. “Young Master, are you serious?”
“Yes. My father will hold a meeting later. Besides, he’ll allow me to take charge of these youths!”
jackie smiled. “Of course, there’s something else too. The people from the main family will be tasked with finding food and martial resources in the forest from now on. Firstly, to train them. Secondly, to ensure that they know how to work for things!”
“This is fantastic. Thank you, Young Master!”
Lancelot was absolutely elated. He shot to his feet before falling onto one knee, clasping his hands together in gratitude.
After all, the members of the branch families would definitely benefit from these two initiatives.
Not every member of the branch family would be able to savor the reward, but at least the masters would have the chance to take more martial resources—they would have the chance to become true fighters.
At least they had hope now.
“Heh. Get up first. You’re being too polite!”
jackie hastily hauled the other man up. “All right. You can leave now. Everyone should be waiting for the news,” he said. “And you’ve been here for too long. It won’t be good if someone else spots us!”
“All right. I’ll tell everyone about the good news!”
Lancelot declared excitedly.
“Remember to tell them to keep it a secret. Don’t worry. We may not be able to deal with Lily and the Third Elder for now, but I’m sure that my father can settle a matter like this during a meeting!”
jackie reminded him after thinking for a while.
Quickly, Lancelot left, giddy with happiness.
At the foot of a mountain that was not too far from the White family’s residence, the heads and elders of the branch families who had pretended to leave were actually gathering together.
“Ah. I wonder if Lancelot will bring good news to us!”
Chad White, who had a head tufted with white hair, could not help but heave a sigh after waiting a while.
“Heh. Don’t worry. He won’t bring bad news, that’s for sure. jackie is a fine young fellow, but he just officially joined the White family. He’s the heir, but I think many people won’t respect him either. He could be willing to help us, but his hands may be tied!”
Another middle-aged man chuckled. “It’s good enough that he can report our grievances to the master,” he said. “But I think it’ll be useless even if he told the master everything!”
“That’s right. Master has no way of confronting the Third Elder and the Mistress even if he knows what’s going on. Furthermore, his physical condition is terrible now!”
A woman said helplessly after thinking about it.
“That’s right. It’s useless even if Master knows. But it’s still better that he knows, rather than not knowing at all. Besides, we don’t know if the Third Elder and the Mistress truly conspired to take the martial resources. What if it was Master who ordered them to do so!”
The middle-aged man from before flashed a bitter smile. “So let’s not hope too much. The higher your hopes, the bigger your disappointment. It’s good enough that Young Master jackie treated us to barbecue and beer yesterday!”
At this moment, Chad noticed Lancelot’s silhouette. Excitement leaped in his heart.
Lancelot spotted them too and rushed over eagerly.
“What happened? Did jackie spill what happened to us to the master? Were the Third Elder and the Mistress in cahoots to take the martial resources?”
Chad immediately stepped forward when Lancelot came before him. He looked at the other man expectantly.
“He did. Whatever Young Master jackie says he’ll do, he will do!”
Lancelot’s lips curved into a slight smile. “The master was furious when he found out,” he announced to the crowd. “Because the White family only requested to increase the tithe by a small percentage—up to 60 percent. They never talked about raising it to 70 or 80 percent!”
“I told you so. Master wouldn’t have done something like that. That’s why I said that it must have been the Third Elder. He and the Mistress are such wretched people. Why would they want to take so much martial resources for themselves? They won’t even be able to finish it!”
Chad stomped his foot, swathed in a righteous aura.
“Then? Does the master have a solution to this?”
The middle-aged man from before smiled bittered, and asked somewhat helplessly.
Lancelot turned to the crowd and uttered, “Master White has said it clearly, that he will handle the matter, but not now. Please be patient and give him another two to three months!”
“Another two to three months? How much longer do we have to put up with this? If he can’t handle it right now, what makes him able to do it in two or three months? And I think his body would have turned cold and stiff after two months—he’ll be dead then! By that time, he can finally ‘rest’ and not care about anything!”
The middle-aged man had a stomach full of rage and frustration. He barked sarcastically. “We’ve put up with it for so long, how much longer shall we continue enduring the bullsh*t! See, what I’ve been saying? Even if Master White knew about the matter, he certainly can’t do anything! How unreliable!”
“Mason, you can’t shove all the blame onto Nash. He certainly did not want any of these to happen. After all, the devils are the Third Elder and Lily. Master White has to find absolute proof and evidence before he can do anything!”
Although Chad was disappointed at how the matter was handled, he still took Nash’s side and comforted Mason.
Lancelot chimed in with a supportive voice, “Guys, stay calm. We know very well ourselves that this matter would be very hard to handle. But we’ve gotten some good news as well. jackie discussed with Master White about this matter and has come out with some good mitigation plans for us. I think jackie and his father are now in a meeting to further discuss the new policies, and soon it’ll be implemented!”
“New policy? What other policy can there be?”
Mason’s mood instantly lifted, and the heavy boulder was finally removed from his heart upon hearing Lancelot’s announcement.
“The new policy is that, these branch families of ours, as well as the forces that are collaborating with the White family, can pick two or three outstanding young martial artists and send them to the main White family every month. They will train there and enjoy the same training resources and facilities as the main White family members!”
“Furthermore, the person in charge of these new policies is no other than jackie!”
Lancelot smiled faintly and articulated clearly to the heads of the White branch family.
“Is that for real? This is good news! With this new policy, the young and talented ones of our branch family can have better resources and facilities to improve their martial art status! At least, in such a way, the talents of those masters will not be buried!”
Chad could barely conceal his delight as he heard the news, his face immediately lit up and his spirits lightened.
“Oh ya, there’s one more thing. jackie has said that in the future, he will request the members from the main White family to go into the woods and forest to look for resources and materials too!”
Lancelot chuckled brightly, “This way, the people of the branch families can finally hold their heads high during the material foraging in the forest; because they have always been looked down by the other families and dare not fight back. Hence, with some people from the main White family, the situation would improve; we can look out for each other!”
“That’s wonderful! Looks like the people of the main White family have finally started to pay attention to people of White branch families!”
Mason was flabbergasted with joy that his face lit up in an instant as he heard the plan. “Finally, there’s good news for me to bring back to my people, and for once our young masters can feel cherished and treasured. I can talk to them in peace now!”
“All these new plans and benefits are what Young Master jackie has done for us; none has thought of these plans before!”
Lancelot’s mood lightened as well. “Now, I do sincerely hope that Young Master jackie could improve his martial art status and combat prowess, so that he could put an end to those two satanic scourges. If he becomes the head of the family, it’ll be good for the family branches too!”
“That’s so true! Young Master jackie has thought of us and tried to help us in every way even when he has yet to establish his own path in the White family. If there’s anything in the future, I’ll definitely take his side!”
Chad announced aloud, full of conviction.
Mason patted his chest and echoed loudly with confidence, “That’s right! Starting from today, my life belongs to Young Master jackie! Whenever he needs any help, I’ll be the first one to offer no matter what!”
“Alright, guys. One more thing, please keep this matter a secret. You may inform your people about the new plans, but don’t spread it! As for the corruption behaviors of the Third Elder and Lily, please keep quiet about it. You may tell a few important and trustable elders of your branch, but don’t say any words to others! Let’s just endure the current situation for a little more. I believe Young Master jackie will fight for us!”
Lancelot wheeled his head toward the direction of the residence of the main White family, gazing afar with deep thoughts. He then left with the crowd.
At noon, Nash called for a meeting.
The two new plans that were said before were brought up in the meeting and most of the attendees agreed to them.
Lily, the Third Elder, and two other elders were somewhat against the ideas, however, the majority of the members agreed to the plans. Most of them opined that those branch families had been making indelible contributions over the years, hence they approved of the new policies. Lily and the gang could not do anything even if they despised the ideas.
After the new policies were set, the matters were passed onto jackie to handle. Beth and Yule would be assisting jackie in this matter.
Lily and the Third Elder left the meeting room in a huff.
They ran into Hudson who was walking toward them on the way back to their residence. They were in deep discussion until Hudson appeared.
“Good day, First Madam! Good day, Third Elder!”
Hudson greeted Lily and Third Elder with a wide grin on his face.
After greeting them, when he was about to continue his walk, he suddenly thought of something else, and then he immediately wheeled around and shouted toward Lily and Third Elder, “Right! Third Elder, there’s something that I don’t know if I should inform you and First Madam about it!”
“What is it about?”
The Third Elder looked at Hudson with a curious look and asked.
“Hmmm…I saw Lancelot, the head of White branch family, meeting jackie, and then leaving the place not long after!”
Hudson answered smilingly.
“Is that so? That fella, what did he meet jackie for? Don’t tell him he’s licking his *ss right now to garner some benefits?”
The Third Elder’s forehead puckered; he was puzzled at the news.
“Hmmm, I’m not sure if the secretive meeting between Lancelot and jackie has anything to do with the meeting just now. Could it be that Lancelot is actually the one who suggested those plans to jackie?”
Lily pondered hard about the strange meeting between Lancelot and jackie and spilled out the question.
“That’s really possible! After all, the two new policies, letting a few talented young martial artists of White branch families join the training with the main White family, and making the members of the main White family go into the forest to collect resources, are both good news to the White branch families!”
Wade furrowed and slowly uttered his analysis.
“Meeting? There’s a meeting today talking about these new policies?”
Hudson heard the exchange and exclaimed. “It looks like Lancelot really did go to jackie for these matters. These fcking bstards from the branch families, they’re asking more and more now, aren’t they? How could they suggest sending their young martial artists to our main family? Making us share our resources and facilities with them! Our share of martial enhancement resources will be lesser!”
Lily echoed with fury, “I truly agree! The most frustrating thing is that you and the other young talented martial artists, whose martial status and combat prowess have reached grandmaster level or even demi-god level, have to spare your precious training time to go into the forest and scavenge for resources! This not only uses up your training time, but it’s also dangerous for all of you to go to that kind of place. If any of you were not blessed by the Lucky God, and get killed by the monsters in the forest, it’d be such a waste!”
Wade saw the opportunity to drive a wedge between Hudson and his grandfather—Nash, he quickly chimed in and fanned the flames of trouble. “What First Madam said is absolutely logical! What I don’t get is that your Grandpa agreed to this, saying that young people should go out to venture or something, and that’s the only way to grow, to expose oneself to different worldviews and to improve combat prowess!”
Lily and Wade thought that when Hudson heard of what his grandfather had done to the main White family, he would quiver with anger.
Little did they expect, Hudson’s eyes had brightened up at the new ideas and beamed happily, “That’s so great, isn’t it? In fact, going into the forest and scavenging for those resources is like treasure hunting, so exciting! I feel good about the idea. Especially when you have to stay home every day to train and train and train, it’s so routine and boring! So, I’d want to go into the forest to practice and explore the world. I, Hudson White, am not afraid of death, if I want to become stronger, I should take up the challenges…”
Lily and Wade’s face immediately turned unsightly when they heard Hudson’s words. They were rendered speechless.
“Alright! First Madam and Third Elder, I’ll leave first! Letting the members of the branch families to come train here is definitely something I resent but sending us out to the forest and hunting for resources is something I find interesting, and I like it very much!
“I have long yearned to go out for a break!” Hudson walked away as he spoke aloud.
“What is this brat thinking? How could he agree with the new policies?”
Lily’s face sank deeply as she watched Hudson’s back becoming more and more distant from her. “Sigh! The lady of luck has not been with me recently! Why is everything not going well? And about my son, is there really no clue at all?” Lily asked, whining.
Wade shook his head and said, “First Madam, nothing about Young Master Lance yet. If there’s any news or clue, I’ll definitely inform you immediately. I feel strange about the incident; a few families went together and they have brought men with them, how come they just evaporated into thin air? Without any news at all!”
“Yes, even if they’ve encountered some powerful monster beast, they have so many men with them, they could have scattered and escaped to different directions! One or two of them should have been able to escape and survive long enough to come to us, right? What’s more ridiculous is that my son and the other talented fighters of other families are all capable fighters, and their martial statuses are not low at all. The generic monster beasts are not their opponent at all. If they can’t fight, they can always escape!”
Lily’s heart was overwhelmed with worry and fear; she was tormented by these fearful feelings every day.
“Don’t worry, I believe that Young Master Lance will come back alive, he is one lucky boy who is always blessed by God. And our people will continue to look for him!”
Wade consoled Lily with a gentle tone.
He halted to ponder and continued, “What is burning right now is jackie. His combat prowess is not very high, but he is very smart. He helped the people of the branch families and made use of the new policies to gain trust and a good impression. He has bought their hearts this time.”
“You’re right. Lancelot is someone that we need to be cautious of too. He dares to meet jackie and plot all these matters. How abominable is he!” Lily huffed angrily.
As she spoke, Lily suddenly thought of something and exclaimed loudly, “Oh My God! We’re so done for, we’re so done for! Third Elder, Lancelot has gone to jackie for the new policies, do you—do you think he has told jackie about the tithes? That we’ve increased it to 80%? If that’s the case, jackie would definitely tell Nash!”
Wade gasped at Lily’s words. Terror stabbed his heart all of sudden that his four limbs went cold and clammy.
If these dirty deeds of theirs were exposed, then it would be troublesome. After all, they had pocketed a lot of martial enhancement resources all this while. Initially, when they only increased the percentage to seventy, they were weighed down by fear.
However, when they saw there was not much noise from the branch families, plus Wade had killed a few—who opposed the raise—to act as a deterrence effect to warn the others, nobody dared to make any noises anymore; they were obedient.
This way, Lily and the Third Elder had tasted the sweetness of their dirty deeds, hence they had become bolder and increased to eighty percent.
They thought that their deed would not be exposed, and they could continue pocketing the resources until the death of Nash. By that time, they would find a way to become the head of the family.
The two clearly did not expect the arrival of jackie in the White family, and his presence ruined their plans.
“F*ck! If Nash finds out, we’re so done for! He hates these deeds the most, he’ll definitely slit our throats!”
Wade’s face turned gloomy as he said, and his heart was in a complete state of terror.
Lily calmed her head down and thought about the matter. “It shouldn’t be possible that Nash knew about this. If he did, he would have said something at the meeting today, and even smash the table or something. He looked happy today and was smiling throughout the whole meeting, so I bet he has yet to know about this!” Lily shook her head and suggested.
Wade released a huge sigh of relief when he heard Lily’s analysis. “You’re right. If Nash knew about it, he’d have exploded a long time ago. Besides, Lancelot, as the head of the branch family, is not a bold man. Every time I went to collect the resources from him, he has always greeted me with a smiley face and even prepared good food and wine to treat me. Such a person wouldn’t dare to spill a word unless he has a death wish!”
“Hmmm… Looking at the situation, I think Lancelot just wants to fight for some benefits for his people of the branch family. Other than that, I don’t think he has anything against us!”
Wade chuckled then added, “The b*stard jackie, I bet he dares not leave the main family. He is quite smart, isn’t he? As long as he’s not a fool, it’s impossible for him to leave the White family. After all, his father is dying, so he’ll definitely stay by his father’s side and spend the rest of his time here peacefully!”
“Right, aren’t you planning to go on a retreat? When are you going? In this retreat, you must strive to break through the demi-god realm and reach the true god realm! Once you breakthrough, the First Elder will no longer be your opponent! You can find an opportunity to end his life, and then jackie’s life as well. After all that, the position of family head will be yours!”
Lily was impatient at her thoughts. With her fish clenched, she blurted, “Hmph! After you kill the bstard jackie, please do not touch a single strand of Joan’s hair, leave that btch to me. I’ll make sure she suffers ‘properly’ in the White family, that she will beg to die rather than continue living!”
In order to comfort Lily, Wade agreed and added, “At that time, you and the other elders have to support me to get the position of the family head. Once the First Elder, Nash White, and jackie have died, I’ll be the strongest fighter here in the White family. Although it’d not be cumbersome for me to be the head by that time, with the elders’ and your strong support, the other wouldn’t squeak an opposing noise at all!”
“Don’t you worry. When the time comes, you have my full support!”
Lily cast Wade a salacious wink as she spoke in a coquettish tone. “But don’t forget our agreement, as long as my son comes back alive, you’ll return the position of family head to him. Understand?” She added.
“Haha! Don’t be preoccupied, I’ll definitely give it to him!”
Wade chuckled aloud and stopped his laughter when he saw someone walking toward them. “Alright then, I’ll go on a retreat now. If there’s nothing serious, you shouldn’t come and disturb me. I strive to break through the demi-god realm this time and get to the true god realm. When I finally reach the true god realm, I want to see who dares to stop me then!” Wade sneered.
“Alright, please go ahead! I’ll wait for your good news!”
Lily giggled and continued, “Well, I’d better go to see Nash now. After all, the good-wife acting still has to continue, otherwise, it’d be troublesome if he gets suspicious of us!”
At another place this time, jackie boiled a large barrel of bathing water with spirited grass in it. Every essence of the spirited grass had gone into the bathing water.
“Dear, use this spirited grass water to soak yourself, alright? At first, you won’t feel a thing, but soon you’ll feel pain when the essence of spirited grass water penetrates into your body through the pores and then permeates your limbs. The pain will become stronger when time passes. I’ve to give you a heads up so that you have a mental preparation!”
jackie plastered a warm smile on his face and reminded the beauty before him with a calm and gentle voice.
“Hmmm. Don’t worry, I’ll endure it! Elaine has given me a lot of lectures and explanations about martial arts and combat techniques these days. And I fully understand that this path is not an easy one, but you won’t forget the joy you get when you break through a level. Your body will become stronger and more powerful. That kind of pure excitement and joy is something the commoners will not get to feel in a lifetime!”
Selena bobbed her head. She then took off her clothes slowly, let jackie pick her up, and put her into the wooden barrel full of spirited grass water.
It was true. Selena did not feel anything at all at first.
However, as time flies, she started to feel a tingling sensation throughout her body, as though thousands of ants were crawling on her body and biting her sensitive skin. The sensation grew stronger and stronger, that it was no longer only tingling, it was hellish painful.
In a short while, there were beads of shiny sweat on her forehead, constantly dripping down her beautiful features. Fist clenched, teeth gritted, she endured.
“Eh? Why is there black color grease flowing out of my body? And it smells really bad, is everything okay?”
Soon, Selena found her arms emitting black and greasy liquid. It was disgusting and repugnant.
“Not to worry. It’s all normal. These are the impurities inside your body, as well as some toxins. They’re forced out by the spirited grass and once they’re all out, you’ll feel good. And it’d be hard for you to catch any cold or fall sick in the future!”
jackie giggled and continued, “Why do you think I prepare two barrels of water then? When you’re done with the spirited grass water spa, go soak yourself in the other barrel and scrub yourself thoroughly!”
The pain inside her body had become stronger and stronger. The pain made Selena whimper out.
“You’re nasty! Why are you still here? Stop looking at me!”
Noticing that jackie had been watching her taking the spirited bath since the beginning, Selena was a little embarrassed and her cheeks were kissed pink.
“I have to be here to watch you. What if you faint halfway through the spa and drown?”
jackie smiled bitterly and then added, “I am guessing Elaine is watching over Ben right now. Otherwise, if any of you fainted, you’d drown to death!”
“No…No freaking way! In later times, will the pain will be more excruciating than now? My God, how long will this take?”
A few horizontal lines formed between Selena’s brows as she listened to jackie. It looked like it would be more painful than she imagined.
“Haha, don’t worry too much. The treatment will be done in half an hour. A lot of people can normally endure the pain at the beginning of the treatment, then the peak of pain will come, and once you’ve endured the peak, the pain will slowly subside until your body no longer feels anything. Then the body is completely purified!”
The corner of jackie’s mouth curled up gently. “After your body is washed and purified, you’re considered a martial artist! Your overall strength and power will be enhanced. In general, for people with average talent, after their body gets purified, they’ll become a first-grade martial artist; for people with a little bit of talent, they will become a second-grade martial artist; and for people with natural raw talent, they can directly reach the third-grade of martial status!”
“My Lord, so many grades!”
Selena was surprised, at the same time, speechless. “I only hope that I’m not a first-grade martial artist then this talent of mine would be too average. Sigh! I still wish to become a grandmaster one day!”
As time passed, Selena felt more and more pain. She finally could not help but let out a loud cry of pain.
On the side, jackie did not know whether to laugh or cry at his wife’s cry of pain. “Dear, do you want me to come in and keep you company?” jackie suggested, smiling.
Selena’s face immediately turned rosy pink. She shot jackie a deadly stare and jeered. “Such a jerk! How could you still joke at this time? The water is full of black and greasy impurities, do you even dare to come in?”
“Hey! As long as my dear wife allows it, what is there to be ashamed of? Of course, I’ll go in!”
jackie giggled wickedly and made Selena laugh and cry at the same time.
“It’s almost time. Endure it a little bit longer. The painful sensation will start to subside once the peak is over. You’ll get through it!”
jackie looked at the time and explained to Selena. “Dear, you’re doing great! You can make it! You will make it!” jackie cheered.
Selena bobbed her head like an obedient little girl. She gritted her teeth and continued enduring the pain.
Finally, her body was fully purified. She then went into the other barrel of clean water and washed her body thoroughly. Then she came out and exhaustedly put on her clothes.
“I’m so, so, so exhausted! I feel like my whole body is falling apart. Now I just want to go to bed and have a good sleep!”
Selena felt weak in her limbs. She looked at jackie with a bitter smile.
“Let’s go. I’ll carry you back to rest. After resting fully, you’ll feel like your body has changed completely. And after your body is purified, you will sense a faint hint of spirituality in your body, it’s like chi energy. Your body will emit a glow of confidence which will make you even more beautiful than before!”
jackie smiled as he picked up Selena in his strong arms and strode toward the direction of their abode.
“Really? I didn’t expect that there would be so many benefits to practicing martial arts! No wonder there are so many people who can’t wait to become one!”
Selena looked at jackie in embarrassment. Her face blushed. “I’ve never imagined that I would one day embark on the path of martial arts!” she added.
Time passed quickly, and by the next morning, Selena finally became energetic again.
Right after she got up and walked to the courtyard with jackie, Ben and Elaine were hopping toward them excitedly.
“Sis, this is so fantastic! I have good news to tell you! I’ve successfully purified my body yesterday! Moreover, Elaine mentioned that my martial art talent is not bad at all!”
Ben blabbered excitedly as he saw Selena. He was jumping up and down with happiness that his feet barely touched the ground.
“Is it? You look so happy. Let me see how good your talent is!”
Selena returned with a dry smile.
In the next second, Ben picked up a basketball-sized rock and faced Selena, “I can blast this size of stone into pieces. Elaine told me, with such strength, I can be considered a second-grade martial artist! Moreover, I’m not too far away from the third-grade martial level! What does this mean? It means that I’m a master! Well, at least I’m much better than average people!”
“Wow! That’s really great!”
Selena’s mood lightened as she heard his words. She was truly happy for Ben. “That’s so great! If Ma and Pa knew that you’ve become a martial artist and possess such talent, they would be proud of you too!”
“What about you, Sis? Have you successfully purified? Here, try this!”
After the final syllabus of the word dropped, Ben shoved the basketball-sized rock into Selena’s arm.
“That’s huge! No way. I can’t break that. It scares me just by looking at it!”
Selena looked at the rock in her palm and spoke in a panicked tone. She felt that she was already unable to break a rock the size of a fist—what more one of a basketball size.
“You won’t know if you don’t try.”
Yet Ben rolled his eyes at her. “I thought that I couldn’t break it either. But I did,” he said. “Give it a try, Sis. Don’t you realize that the rock isn’t as heavy as you thought it was while you’re carrying it? That’s because your strength is no longer an ordinary person’s strength. You have the body of a martial artist now!”
Here, Ben paused for a while before continuing, “Sis, do you know that a person who is truly strong is the one who doesn’t flinch before a tiger, and even thinks of a tiger as an ant!”
When Elaine heard this, she could not help but chortle. “I just told you all that a while ago. You sure pick up fast!”
Ben rubbed the back of his neck. “I’ve always been a believer of life-long learning.”
“Give it a try, Dear. You’re his sister—you have the same mother. If he can do it, you can’t lose to him as his older sister! Besides, your body is strong now. It won’t be too much even if you punch the rock. You’re different from before, alright?”
jackie spoke from the side, grinning.
“All right. I’ll give it a shot!”
Selena cradled the rock in one arm and clenched her other hand into a fist, smashing it straight into the rock.
All remained silent after the enormous bang, and the rock in Selena’s hand shattered into pieces and fell onto the ground.
“My God. No way. You’re amazing, Sis!”
Ben exclaimed when he saw this.
“Did you see that, jackie? Did you see that? I did it! And it was so easy. My hand doesn’t even hurt!”
Selena jumped excitedly after she saw this. “This is amazing. Seems like I’m a second-grade martial artist like my brother now. I’m just as talented as he is. We’re practically masters!”
“I think your strength is more than that of a second-grade martial artist, Sis!”
Elaine simply stared at her and managed a bitter smile. “Ben placed the rock on a bench and used all his strength to shatter it. You were holding it in one arm, but you broke it anyway. This strength is probably that of a third-grade martial artist!”
Selena’s eyes widened. “So you’re telling me that Ben didn’t break the rock that way?”
jackie did not know whether to laugh or cry. “You’re a true master, my dear. You’re definitely a third-grade martial artist. You’re pretty strong already!”
“That’s right. With talent like yours, you can have the fighting skills of a major with a bit of practice. Furthermore, I guarantee that you can even become a grandmaster in a month’s time so long as you put in the effort!”
jackie said with a grin after he thought about it.
“No way. I’m that strong?”
Selena was extremely excited. She never thought that she would actually be stronger than her brother, who already possessed immense talent.
“Selena, do you see that rock over there? The one on the ground, a little larger than a basketball. Go over and hit it, if you’re still in disbelief. If it breaks, it means that you definitely have the strength of a third-grade martial artist!”
jackie scanned his surroundings before he singled out a nearby rock. He spoke to Selena.
“Really? Let me try!”
Selena took his words in and grinned. She walked over and punched the rock.
A crack resounded through the air, and that enormous rock split opened and shattered into pieces.
“This is amazing. Sis, your talent is making me jealous!”
As Ben watched, his initial excitement abruptly subsided; he felt as though his ego had suffered a serious blow. He had wanted to show off just now, but now he no longer had the chance to.
“I can’t help it. I’m your older sister, after all!”
Selena’s face was lit up with an infectious grin. Then she thought about something and added, “Kylie would be so happy if she could see me right now. She would be happy to see her strong mother!”
After she said that, her brows creased together and she turned toward jackie. “We haven’t seen Kylie for a few days already, Dear,” she said. “I miss her!”
jackie quickly raked his eyes over his surroundings. “We’d better not mention Kylie under these conditions. Understand?” he replied. “Lily and the Third Elder are definitely up to no good. It’ll be troublesome if they use Kylie against us. After all, people like them would resort to all sorts of tactics!”
After Selena heard this, she took a sharp intake of breath. “Ah, why do they have to be so powerful? When can we get rid of them?” she said, worried. “If only they could disappear. Otherwise, we can’t even get a good night’s rest!”
“Don’t worry, Dear. I’ll do my best!”
jackie offered a reassuring smile. “I’ll be out collecting some chi congregation pills tomorrow. You and Ben better stay here and practice,” he said. “Lana, Ethan, and I plan to sneak out. We have to go and find the herbs to cure my father. After we get the herbs to create the antidote, the Third Elder and Lily will be in big trouble!”
“No way. If Lily knows you’re going out, she’ll send people to kill you!”
Elaine said, panicking, “I think you should stay back and practice to get better first. It’d be better that way! With your talent, Young Master jackie, you’ll be able to achieve the middle stage of true god status very soon.”
She never thought that jackie would reply in such an offhand manner, “Don’t worry. I believe in my own abilities. Besides, the Third Elder and the others don’t know how strong I am—they probably have no idea that I’ve already achieved the true god status. So they won’t send strong people to kill me anyway! Furthermore, I realized that our fighting skills are slightly stronger than the White family’s fighting style from the last competition. I’ll definitely be able to hold my ground!”
“Really? So you won’t be afraid even if you run into the Third Elder?”
Elaine’s eyes brightened after she heard this. She asked in an eager tone.
jackie nodded his head. “I’ve never traded blows with him, but he won’t have an easy time killing me. Furthermore, one’s strength and fighting skills increase exponentially by transforming into a dragon!”
After he said that, jackie thought of something else. “Selena, they just gave you that untitled fighting scroll because they so happened to have it,” he said to Selena. “After studying it, I realized that it’s a difficult style to master, and it’s very strong too. You’ll be extremely fast after you practice according to it. Besides, it has fantastic potential to enable you to practice till you achieve true god status!”