After all, jackie had mentally prepared himself for all the gossip that would inevitably happen once his presence was made known in the wager battle arena. However, the same could not be said for Brook as Wesley and his group kept looking over in their direction.
Brook sighed and whispered to jackie, “Be careful, Brother jackie. Those people over there don’t seem to be looking at us too kindly. I bet that Wesley has some tricks up his sleeve when it’s your turn to fight against him.”
He did not doubt that Wesley would do everything short of killing jackie and to his words, jackie only nodded. He, too, had expected that Brooke found jackie’s composure a bit odd. Although he knew that jackie possessed extraordinary power, that did not mean that he could win in a fight against Wesley, who was in the running to be a chosen disciple after only joining for half a year. Wesley’s power and talent were something Brook had wished for himself for the longest time.
“You don’t seem to be worried?” asked Brook when he realized jackie was still staring impassively at the arena, waiting for the fight to start, which would take another thirty minutes.
“Why should I worry? Did you think that I agreed to the fight because I want to protect my pride?” jackie retorted.
‘Isn’t it?’ thought Brook. He had always thought that was the reason or else why would jackie agree to fight a person who was way stronger than him? He did not think there was even a chance for the fight to come to a draw, and winning over Wesley would be even more impossible.
jackie did not have to look at Brook to know what he was thinking as his silence said it all. He smiled and said, “There’s no use explaining it to you now. You would definitely not believe me. You’ll soon understand everything.”
This made Brook even more confused. Was jackie hinting at something that was going to happen later? What could it be? He thought about it and came up with the conclusion that the only way to make him change his perspective was if jackie got into a huge fight with Wesley
At that thought, he abruptly straightened his back and his eyes nearly popped out of their sockets. jackie must be mad if he was really planning to do that. Just when he was about to ask jackie this, a sudden commotion caught his attention. He turned to the source and saw a delicate man making his way from afar.
jackie instantly knew who he was from the whisperings of the crowd.
“Brother Dale is actually on time. I thought he would come at the last minute.”
“Yeah. He is known for his last-minute arrival. He must be well-acquainted with Brother Wesley’s temper. Who knows what Brother Wesley would say If he came late.”
“I’ve been looking forward to this fight for the longest time. They have always been at odds with each other with both of them wanting to step on each other’s heads. It’s only natural that Brother Dale doesn’t want to give Brother Wesley a chance to find faults with him.”
“To be honest, I don’t think Brother Wesley is on good terms with a lot of other brothers here.”
“There’s no doubt about that. He has always looked down on those whose power is beneath him. Why, just a few days ago, he totally ignored me when I greeted him! It was then that I found the rumors about his personality to be true.”
All their comments drifted into jackie’s ears. Apart from his posse of suck-ups, Wesley seemed to have garnered a reputation of being difficult to get along with, no doubt due to his arrogance.
As soon as Dale arrived at the viewing platform, he glanced at Wesley for a second and immediately went to sit down at an area furthest from Wesley. It looked like the rumor of them being at odds with each other was true.
“I feel like Brother Dale seems to be lacking in confidence,” said Brook with a slightly raised brow.
jackie nodded. Dale’s expression was a little grim and on the contrary, Wesley seemed very carefree. Even their confidence level was at odds with each other. jackie hoped that Dale would be able to come out as the winner of this fight.
The host of today’s fight was none other than jackie’s old friend-Ambrose Adams. jackie knew from his time there that there were around ten or so deacons In the Dual Sovereign Pavilion but apart from Zeph and Ambrose, he had not come across the others.
Today, there was something sorrowful about Deacon Ambrose’s expression as if he had not been getting enough sleep. After stepping into the arena, he took out a piece of paper from his pocket and impatiently tried to smooth it out. Then, he read from the paper. At first, jackie thought it was something important but realized it was only the rules for the fight.
The rules were simple, the fighters had to join the fight out of their own volition, the fighters could not cause permanent damage nor death to each other, and the wager could not be too high with the maximum contribution points capped at a hundred and fifty. This was to prevent the fighters from getting addicted to fighting in the wager battle arena.
After reading out all the rules, Deacon Ambrose announced the start of the fight with a wave of his hand and invited all the disciples who wanted to join the fight, up to the arena with their wagers. There were a total of seven battle platforms and it was impossible for Deacon Ambrose to preside over them all therefore he had brought along with him a few minor stewards.
Brook pulled on jackie’s sleeves and pointed at the chubby minor steward. “That’s Steward Fleming. He’s Deacon Ambrose’s best assistant. Don’t be fooled by his smiley face. He’s the stingiest person I’ve ever known and the others call him Iron Rooster.”
Steward Fleming was so chubby that his facial features were all squished together, and it was true that he was always sporting a smile. However, after that little introduction by Brook, jackie made a mental note to himself to be wary of Steward Fleming.
There were many contestants in other battle platforms since every disciple must join a fight once a month, though the most popular fight today had got to be the fight between Dale and Wesley.
Wesley seemed to be impatient to get the fight started. He shot up from his seat as soon as the announcement to begin was made. He shook away the non-existent dust on his body and made his way purposefully to the centermost battle platform.
Wesley bowed slightly to Deacon Ambrose and whispered something in his ear while pointing at Dale. Deacon Ambrose then nodded and gestured for Dale to come down with his eyes. It seemed that both Wesley and Dale had already greeted Deacon Ambrose as they stood at the opposite end of each other.
“Informal disciple, Wesley Sayer of ranking 187 and informal disciple, Dale Woodward of ranking 143 have agreed to a wager of a hundred and fifty contribution points. If Wesley Sayer wins this round, then they will swap their rankings, and if Dale Woodward wins this round, their rankings will remain unchanged,” boomed Deacon Ambrose and immediately left the battle platform.
He then activated the protective formation with the spirited crystals. Each battle platform had been set up with their individual protective formation to prevent the stray energy from affecting the spectators.
Wesley and Dale remained facing each other. Dale was frowning and seemed reluctant to talk smack while Wesley did not even bother to look at him but instead, was looking at jackie which caused the other spectators to do the same. jackie was a little rendered speechless by this.
“Someone better not try to escape or beg for mercy when this fight starts. There’s no use begging for mercy. One must keep one’s promises. If not, be prepared to be the laughing stock of everyone,” said Wesley with his chin held high.
Everyone who heard this knew that Wesley was directing his words at jackie, and not Dale. They started to laugh and looked at jackie mockingly. They were waiting eagerly to see the expression on jackie’s face once Wesley displayed his true power and was wondering if jackie would still be able to remain as calm.
The corner of jackie’s lips began to twitch. He was so fed up with Wesley’s cockiness and turned his eyes away from him. However, Brook became even more agitated at Wesley’s words as he moved around as if he was sitting on coals.
Just then, a familiar voice drifted to jackie’s ears. Noel had come to the arena too. “Just ignore him. If not, there won’t be an end to it.”
jackie nodded. Arguing with Wesley was exactly what the other spectators wanted and besides, there was no point, so it was better for him to keep his mouth shut.
However, Wesley misinterpreted this kind of behavior as cowardice. He laughed and in a pompous tone said, “There’s no use acting like a coward now. I’ll never forgive you for what you have said to me. I’ve promised you that you’ll pay for behaving disrespectfully toward me!”
It took jackie’s every effort to not roll his eyes at Wesley.
“Hey, Wesley! I’m the person you’re fighting now. Quit your yapping and don’t waste my time. Let’s begin the fight now!” shouted Dale impatiently with a frown.
Wesley smirked. He was not angered by Dale’s words at all. He calmly wiped his hand against the thin air and instantly a sword measuring three feet appeared In his palm.
The sword was twinkling like the stars in the Milky Way and from the looks of it, seemed to be very heavy. Dale, too, took out his weapon from his Loot ring and his weapon of choice was a pair of daggers etched with mysterious red patterns.
Looking at both their weapons caused jackie to frown subconsciously. Ever since coming to this world, he had wondered whether he should equip himself with a weapon that would be more suitable for him because after all, one’s weapon could drastically increase one’s battle power. However, the Destroying the Void skill he was cultivating right now was a soul attribute skill and a soul attribute weapon was one of the hardest weapons to come across.
Dale was clenching his daggers tightly in both hands and with lightning-fast speed shot across the platform so fast that no one could see where he went. All they could see was the mysterious red glow of his dagger.
Wesley scoffed. This was like child’s play to him. He swung his sword when Dale was a few feet away from him and the sword came down on Dale like a flashing meteorite. The force of the attack alone was enough for them to sense the extraordinary power. Dale blocked Wesley’s sword with his daggers and a silver light immediately wiped out his daggers’ red light.
While still suspended in mid-air, he twisted himself away from the silver sword light which crashed against the battle platform with a loud bang. Fortunately, the battle platform was made with a special material that made it near impossible for fighters to destroy. However, Wesley’s sword attack was so powerful that it left a faint mark on it.
Most of the spectators’ jaws dropped to the ground after seeing that and once again, began to give their two cents worth.
“That skill must be the Seven Stars Meteor Cloud! I heard it’s an intermediate red level skill and Wesley has been cultivating it beyond a certain level.”
jackie raised his eyebrow when he heard this. He initially thought that Wesley’s skill to be at least premium red level. After all, it made sense for him to have a premium red level skill with this strong support system and exceptional talent so it came as a shock to jackie that he only possessed an intermediate red level skill.
He tried to think of the reason for this but since he only came to this world not long ago, he could not think of the reasons at all. Thus, he turned to enlist the help of Noel. “I admit that Wesley has a good grasp on the basics of intermediate red level skill but I really thought he will at least possess a premium red level skill. I mean Elder Sayer should be able to get that kind of skill for him quite easily, right?”
Noel’s eyes flashed with confusion but then started to look at jackie like he was a monster. “Dude, do you even know what you’re talking about? Yes, Wesley’s talent is truly exceptional but do you seriously think that anyone would be able to attain a premium red level skill just like that? Attaining a premium red level skill is so much more difficult than attaining an intermediate red level skill. The difficulty of a level is disproportionately higher than the next. You don’t think Wesley knows about all this?”
jackie raised his eyebrow as he listened to Noel’s explanation. “You’ve mentioned that he had attained a certain level and which level might that be?” asked Noel.
Both Dale and Wesley were testing each other out on the battle platform with none of them unleashing their full power yet. However, based on this alone, one could tell that Dale was no match for Wesley.
“He must be in the first stage,” answered jackie just as the two on the battle platform were getting into the heat of the fight.
jackie’s reply caused Noel, who was facing the battle platform, to turn around and look him straight in the eyes with an expression that left no room for doubt that he was crazy.
“What is this first stage thing you’re talking about? Don’t tell me you don’t know that we don’t use first or second or third to ascertain the level of a martial art skill or technique?”
The corners of jackie’s lips twitched. It was only natural he did not know how the rules in this part of the world worked, after all, the soul fragment he had obtained was not someone from the Hestia Continent.
Looking at jackie’s expression, Noel had already gotten his answer. “I’m beginning to suspect that you have been living under a rock all this while. How could you not know all these?” said Noel with an air of resignation.
jackie coughed gently while trying to think how to answer Noel. “Yes, you’re right. I’ve been living under a rock all this while. I hope you don’t mind me asking all these. They say anyone could be your teacher and you just so happen to be mine right now.”
jackie’s words obviously did the trick for Noel as he started explaining happily to him about all the inner workings of the Hestia Continent. “No matter the technique or skill, there are three levels to cultivation – preliminary, proficient, and perfection. For example, Wesley’s Seven Stars Meteor Cloud seems to be at the level between preliminary and proficient meaning to say he had attained the preliminary level and was close to the proficient level. Once he reaches the proficient level, he would surely be able to strike Dale down with one swing of his sword.”
jackie nodded and guessed that he had not even touched the preliminary level on his cultivation of Destroying the Void skill. According to the skill’s introduction, one would have to be able to condense and master the control of at least ten Soul Swords to reach the preliminary level.
Not only would jackie need to be able to combine the ten Soul Swords but also control them individually to surround his enemies. At that thought, he started to panic as he had no idea what kind of martial skill would be most suitable for this kind of attack. Should he follow Dale’s footsteps and choose the daggers?
Just when he was contemplating all these, the battle between Wesley and Dale had reached its climax. Wesley was acting like a male peacock as he confidently bombard Dale with his sword attacks and from the frown on Dale’s face, he was trying to suppress his anger at the helplessness of it all.
Finally, Dale was not willing to continue on. With a push from his pointed foot, he managed to put some distance between the two of them. He quickly performed a hand seal and rays of red light began to envelop the whole area as they transformed into flames which danced with the same rhythm as if they were synchronized swimmers.
“Divine Sky Crows!” shouted Dale ferociously. The flames started burning more vigorously and, to the astonishment of all the spectators, transformed into flaming birds.