The Secretly Rich Man Chapter 1291-1300

Gerald Crawford:The Secretly Rich Man Novel (Invisible or Poorest) Chapter 1291
“You…! Let’s do this then! I’ll go easy on you on your first ten blows!” declared Fernando as he looked at Gerald before shaking his head, a wry smile on his face.

Following that, Fernando rested his arms behind his back and even closed his eyes before turning to face away with Gerald.

The way he was behaving almost suggested that he was in some sort of strange environment. That everything else in the entire world was meaningless to him.

“…Does Fernando not plan to make an attack…? His wordless taunt is so merciless! Fernando being Fernando, I suppose!”

“He’s doing that for a reason! Did you know that the Dawsons have mastered a secret martial art skill called the Art of Counter Injury?”

“The Art of what now? What does it do?”

“From what I’ve heard, practitioners of that martial art will allow you to hit them any way you want. However, the more vigorous the attacker’s blows are, the heavier their hands will start to feel!”

“Good lord! To think that such a mystical skill even exists in the world!”

As everyone in the crowd was busy discussing the current situation in between squeals of shock and awe, Fernando had now enveloped himself within a mystifying-looking veil… If he was already mysterious before, he was even more so now.

Seeing that, everyone could only hold their breaths as they kept their eyes peeled.

Gerald himself had no idea what the Art of Counter Injury was. However, he did know that there was a high chance that he would be unable to leave today unless he resolved this incident.

With that in mind, Gerald closed his eyes as his body quickly began emanating his immense inner strength… The second he opened them again, Gerald immediately began dashing toward Fernando!

“He’s made his move! Fernando’s definitely going to counter that!”

Everyone had their eyes glued to the scene as they watched as Gerald successfully landed a swift kick on Fernando!

Following a loud ‘thud’, the sickening sound of bones cracking became evident a split second later as the crowd watched as a body was flung backward… and began colliding with rows upon rows of tables and chairs!

However, the now messily-arranged chairs and tables were the least of everyone’s concerns. Since several members of the Martial Arts Association had been sitting right in front of Fernando’s path of destruction, many of them ended up flying all over the place as well, either in their attempt to dodge the attack or due to being directly hit by the incoming body!

Eventually, the body finally stopped when it hit against the large hall’s glass revolving door, sending it shattering into a million pieces with a loud ‘crash’…!

And of course, the body itself was Fernando’s.

Everyone was momentarily too stupefied for words, and this was especially so for Matilda.

When she was finally able to break from her utter shock, the stunned woman simply muttered, “…H-how… How is this even possible…?”

Despite being completely shocked, those from within the crowd were already starting to discuss the situation again.

“…Maybe Fernando has some other tactic he hadn’t revealed…?”

“…You may be right! After all, he can’t have been defeated that easily! I’m sure he has another tactic up his sleeve…! …Right?”

As everyone continued thinking about how unbelievable the current events were, Fernando himself had been vomiting blood, his shock and fear clearly reflected in his eyes as his body trembled vigorously.

In a way, the sheer force of that kick alone almost seemed to have—somehow—inflicted damage on his entire body. Due to that absurdity, Fernando’s mind was now completely blank as he continued lying on the ground.

Gerald, however, simply stood atop the platform before looking at Fernando and shouting, “Hey now, that was only one blow! You still owe me nine more hits!”

“You should have enough energy stored by now, Fernando! Get up!”

“Is Fernando finally going to reveal his unique skill? It’s definitely over for the other guy now!”

Listening as everyone continued cheering him on, Fernando slowly began crawling back up. Though he eventually managed to—after great difficulty—he immediately began vomiting blood again, forcing his entire body to kneel.

It was then when everyone realized that he truly had lost all his strength, prompting all of them to think the same thing.

‘…What? Could… Could Fernando actually have been defeated…? To think that he even said that he’d go easy on his opponent for the first ten blows… All he managed to take was a single hit!’

As Fernando blacked out from all his internal injuries, Matilda ran over to him while shouting, “Fernando!”

“You’re so powerful, Mr. Crawford!” cried out Aiden immensely joyfully.

‘Worship’ couldn’t even begin describing how awe-stricken Aiden currently was.

“Whatever the case is, I’m assuming that nobody’s going to stop me from leaving now, don’t you think?” replied Gerald as he glared at the bodyguards while gently patting Aiden’s shoulder.

Seeing his frigid glare, the guards immediately felt cold sweat running down their foreheads as they stepped aside to let him pass.

“Humph. Let’s go!” declared Gerald as he and his party strode off, the rest of the Simes not even daring to raise their opinions anymore.

“Go easy on Mr. Crawford for the first ten blows you said… Hah!” sneered Chester as he spat contemptuously when he walked past the unconscious man.

Gerald Crawford:The Secretly Rich Man Novel (Invisible or Poorest) Chapter 1292
Upon stepping out of the large hall, a few women instantly began surrounding Gerald rather excitedly. Finding him to be increasingly stable and attractive, several of them were keen on inquiring him about some things to get to know him better.

“So you were this powerful, Gerald!”

“Indeed! Speaking of which, Gerald, are you really the legendary Mr. Crawford from Mayberry…? Aiden never said a word about this to us!”

“So what if I am? Is that important?” asked Gerald casually.

Hearing that, the women immediately pursed their lips in disappointment. It was obvious that Gerald wasn’t interested in them in the slightest.

Regardless, Fernando himself was now half-crippled due to that single kick. In other words, as soon as he woke up, he found that he couldn’t use the force around his arms anymore.

Since the Dawsons and the Simes had been sharing a good relationship for generations, the incident definitely caused quite a major uproar among the Simes. After all, not only was Fernando a rising star in the Martial Arts Association, but he was also the one who had received special training from the Gunters, one of the major secret families.

He had been planning to participate in the trial training the following day too, but it was obviously impossible in his current state.

To think that Fernando had ended up being beaten up this badly just because of some misunderstanding the Sime family’s young lady—Matilda—had with Gerald! The Simes had simply paid too much attention to that misunderstanding for their own good.

Whatever the case was, both Shandon Sime—the master of the Sime family—and a middle-aged man from the Gunter family—who was there as a guest—were greeted to the sight of Fernando’s terrible state as the other Simes were carrying him in. This, of course, prompted Shandon to inquire his daughter about what had happened. The middle-aged man himself was well acquainted with the Dawsons, so he knew that Fernando was a person who had undergone cut and dried training.

Either way, after being questioned by her father, Matilda didn’t even dare to miss out on a single detail. She even made sure to show him Gerald’s photograph as she fully detailed everything that had led to this point.

Once she was done, the middle-aged Gunter took a look at the photograph before immediately narrowing his eyes as he said, “You… To think that you’ve actually offended him!”

“…Oh? You know who he is, Third master? Is he really the rich heir from Mayberry then?” asked Shandon, stunned.

The third master went by the name of Shaun Gunter, and his role was to mediate communication between the Gunters and the outside world. Due to that, it was no surprise that he was quite close to the Simes.

“I’ve seen photographs of him before, and this is undoubtedly Mr. Crawford from Mayberry. You have no idea how vicious and potent his mysterious martial arts are. I’ll have you know that this person single-handedly ended the lives of all the Moldells from the North, the Longs, and even the Schuylers from the Salford Province!” explained Shaun.

Hearing that, Shandon’s eyes widened so much that they looked like they were going to pop out of his head at any second. Matilda herself was already covering her mouth in fright.

Following that, both father and daughter asked in unison, “Is… Is that really true…?”

“Is there even a reason for me to lie? Regardless, since he’s already here, I assure you that he’s come to meet the Gunters. In fact, Lady Gunter—the master of the Gunter family—had predicted that he would come sooner or later quite some time ago. With that in mind, she had ordered me to receive him upon his arrival. Lady Gunter truly has amazing insight!” replied Shaun with a sigh.

“If that’s the case then… does that mean he’s a prestigious guest of the Gunters?” said Shandon, his fear evident in his voice.

“I’d say so. Regardless, just to remind you how powerful he truly is, I heard that people from both the Squad of Divine Grimness and Judgement Portal have sent exceptional people after him before. However, even their strongest followers were unable to kill him! With that in mind, I have to emphasize your lack of insight for offending such a person!” replied Shaun while shaking his head.

“H-how was I supposed to know that he was that powerful… Hell, if I had known, I wouldn’t have even dared to offend him in the first place!” said Matilda fearfully.

“…Still, why would those from the Squad of Divine Grimness and the Judgement portal want to capture him in the first place? Not only that, but the Gunters are also…” asked Shandon as the end of his sentence trailed off.

“Let’s just say that he has something special with him. As long as one is able to obtain that special something, a major secret will definitely be revealed to them!” replied Shaun.

“A major secret…?” said Shandon as his eyes momentarily lit up.

After some thought, he then looked up again before whispering, “…Could it be that the Gunters also wish to-”

Shandon’s sentence ended midway the second he saw Shaun giving him a warning gaze. Even so, due to that, Shandon knew that his deduction was most likely correct. With that in mind, he quickly breathed a sigh of relief in his mind.

It was a little while later when Gerald finally returned to his hotel. Of course, the private room in the hotel had been ruined by those whom Matilda had sent over.

After seeing the chaotic state of the room, Chester immediately wanted to head off and kill those from the Sime family! Gerald, however, stopped him before he could even leave the room.

“If I may, this isn’t your usual style, Mr. Crawford! With the Simes targeting us so many times, surely we can’t just let them off that easily!” said Chester.

Gerald simply shook his head before replying, “Let’s just say that I’ve been feeling ill at ease throughout this period of time… With that in mind, I truly don’t wish to waste my time and energy on the Simes, at least for the moment!”

Before Chester could reply, the corner of his eye caught a glimpse of something lying on the table in the room. Squinting his eyes slightly, the puzzled Chester then said, “…Mr. Crawford, it appears that someone may have entered the room…”

Looking at the mess before him that Matilda had caused, Gerald then frowned as he replied, “…Yes, I figured as much…”

“…Wait, no, that’s not what I’m talking about! Look there! On the table! Someone’s left you a note of sorts, inviting you to meet them!”

Gerald Crawford:The Secretly Rich Man Novel (Invisible or Poorest) Chapter 1293
Hearing that, Gerald turned to look at the table. Seeing that what Chester had said was true, he then walked over to pick the note up. On it, was a row of words that stated, ‘Let us meet at the Sky Bridge in Qerton City at exactly midnight today!’

Aside from that straightforward message, nothing else was on the note. There wasn’t even a signature to indicate who had sent it.

“…Could the sender have been Matilda…? After all, she couldn’t find us in the beginning… Though she did eventually manage to invite us over, I don’t think it would be a stretch to think that she was the one who left that note here,” deduced Chester.

Shaking his head, Gerald then replied, “Knowing her, she’d most probably continue madly looking around till she eventually managed to find us. Leaving a note behind is too delicate for a person like her!”

Still, what a strange incident…

‘I don’t even know anyone from Ancient City… Who could be the one inviting me over for the meet-up…?’ Gerald thought to himself. Whatever the case was, Gerald had made his mind up that he would be heading over to have a look anyway.

“I’ll be heading over alone, Chester. In the meantime, you should stay here,” said Gerald.

“Affirmative!”

Sky Bridge itself was located near the Southern suburbs of Qerton City, and it connected two chunks of land separated by a large river. By the time Gerald got there, it was half an hour before midnight and everything was dark and slightly terrifying.

Since Gerald still didn’t know who it was who it was who had called him out, Gerald had been extremely vigilant throughout his journey to the river. While he had passed by a few people earlier on his way here, none of them seemed to be the ones who had called him out.

All of a sudden, Gerald saw a wooden boat—with tiny lanterns at its sides—rowing toward him.

With the aid of the dim moonlight, Gerald was able to see a standing figure wearing a straw hat atop the boat. The person himself was dressed in a way that suggested that he was a villager who had retired to live deep in the forest. Regardless, with how steady and quickly the person was rowing the boat, Gerald couldn’t help but feel that the person was a little extraordinary.

As Gerald continued looking at the person, his ears twitched as he suddenly began hearing the—oddly—rhythmic shackling of iron coming toward him from all directions.

Soon after, six figures stepped out from the darkness, and inclusive of the person on the boat, it was a fair guess that Gerald was going to have to deal with seven enemies.

“So you actually came!” sneered one of the men.

Hearing that, Gerald looked at the note in his hand before glaring at the man and replying, “Well you did leave me a note telling me to come over… It would’ve been unreasonable for me to turn down such an obvious trap. Still, did you really have to go through all that trouble just to tell me something? Or is there something else you have in mind…?”

Despite how cold Gerald’s expression was, what seemed to be the group’s leader simply shook his iron shackles slightly before replying with a smile, “There’s no need for you to ask so much. Regardless, we’re giving you a choice now. Are you going to be coming along with us willingly? Or would you prefer us capturing you by force instead?”

Upon hearing that, Gerald then slowly began walking toward the leader as he asked, “Come along, you say? Where to? Also, are you here on behalf of the King of Judgement Portal? Or are you perhaps Queena’s people?”

Seeing how sensibly Gerald seemed to be behaving, the leader couldn’t help but break into a smile. Even though he had caught wind of the fact that Gerald had killed both Tiara and Belzebob, it appeared that he wasn’t really anything out of the ordinary.

“Again, there’s no need to be so inquisitive! After all, you’ll find out sooner or later once you come along with us!” replied the leader with a smirk.

“So be it!” said Gerald.

Following that, Gerald closed his eyes for a second… And when he opened them again, his already cold gaze had turned even more frigid as his inner strength began rapidly pulsing throughout his body!

The next thing everyone knew, Gerald had already disappeared from his spot. Before anyone could even react, a loud ‘thud’ could be heard.

Turning to look at the source of the sound, everyone’s eyes immediately widened as they watched as one of their allies flew a good ten yards away! As it turned out, Gerald had moved so fast that within moments, he had already kicked the chest of that—now-flying—man!

As the victim of the kick spurted blood all over the place—clearly suffering from terrible internal injuries—the rest of his allies found themselves momentarily stupefied.

They truly hadn’t expected Gerald to just attack without warning. Whatever the case was, it was now evident that his martial art skills weren’t as simple as they had initially expected.

“How… How dare you?!” roared one of the men as he immediately threw his iron shackles straight for Gerald’s neck!

Gerald Crawford:The Secretly Rich Man Novel (Invisible or Poorest) Chapter 1294
Gerald, however, simply caught the shackles and tugged the person toward him! Due to the sudden tug, the person fell onto the bridge, struggling the entire time as Gerald pulled him closer and closer! Once he was near enough, Gerald simply positioned his foot before kicking him right in the face! Flying backward, not only did the kick cause the person’s head to explode like a watermelon, but the headless body’s collision also ended up destroying at least ten of the bridge’s guardrails!

Following that, cries upon cries of pain could be heard as Gerald swiftly dealt with the men. Though Gerald wasn’t at his strongest now, his current training still far surpassed his strength before he underwent the baptism of heaven.

What Gerald found strange, however, was the fact that all these people were similar to Tiara in the way that their inner strength seemed to have undergone some rapid and immense changes. Gerald used the term similar since there definitely were slight differences between these men and the duo—Tiara and Belzebob—whom he had killed, though he couldn’t quite put his finger on what the differences were yet.

Still, why were there so many exceptional people who had suddenly undergone such rapid changes in their inner strength? Whatever the case was, Gerald made short work of all the remaining men, save for the one on the boat.

Speaking of him, the now wide-eyed man—who hadn’t moved an inch from his boat—barely even registered that his straw hat had just been blown away by the wind.

Despite the fact that he gave off the first impression that he was someone extremely skilled—based on the way he dressed—after witnessing Gerald’s true strength, he was now in deep shock. Even so, he knew better than to stick around, so he quickly began rowing his boat away.

‘He’s far too strong…! If I don’t leave while I can, I’ll be next to die!’

Of course, there was no way that Gerald was going to just let him escape like that. With a massive leap, Gerald landed right onto the wooden boat with a loud ‘crunch’!

As massive ripples formed due to the wildly bobbing boat, the man—who was about to attempt to dive into the water—ended up losing his balance and was momentarily tossed into the air! When his feet touched the boat again, however, he found—to his horror—that he was now right in front of Gerald!

Before he could make another move, Gerald instantly held him by the neck. Now being strangled, he heard as Gerald asked in a frigid tone, “I only have one simple question. Who was it who sent you?”

“Humph! As if I’d ever tell you just like that! After all, I’ll be dead the second I share that information! How about thi-”

Before the man could even finish his sentence, a soft ‘crack’ was heard.

Looking at Gerald with sheer disbelief in his eyes, the man heard as more tiny cracks followed with Gerald’s slowly intensifying grip. Knowing that his neck was going to snap clear in half soon, the man wondered if Gerald truly didn’t wish to know who had sent him.

With his life now flashing before his eyes, he thought about how he had planned—just seconds ago—on manipulating his secret technique in his final attempt to make it out alive. The technique in question involved using Dead Annie flowers!

In fact, all seven of them were proficient in the secret technique. They simply hadn’t felt that it was necessary to use it on someone like Gerald when they first saw what he looked like.

Alas, Gerald’s attacks were swift as they were fierce.

To think that he had assumed that Gerald wouldn’t kill him as long as he refused to tell the truth… At the very most, he had thought that Gerald would only resort to torturing him! Oh, how wrong he was!

That was the last thought the man had before he went completely limp.

With that, Gerald tossed the corpse into the river. Watching as it floated near the head of the bridge, Gerald then said, “If you refuse to tell me, so be it!”

Following that, Gerald went silent for a while as he fell deep into thought.

Up till today, three powerful groups had already assaulted Gerald, each seemingly intent on killing him. Regarding who was orchestrating all this, Gerald knew—at the very least—that Queena and the King of Judgement Portal were heavily involved.

Regardless, all of his assailants were similar in the way that they had undergone immense and rapid changes in their inner strengths. Even so, Tiara, Belzebob, and the seven he had killed tonight all seemed to have acquired their surges of inner strength slightly differently from each other.

Speaking of the seven, they were clearly from a new group separate from the Divine Grimness and the Judgement Portal. In other words, he now had another group of powerful people going after him. The fact that his location and identity had now been exposed only served to make the situation worse.

As Gerald continued pondering on his next move, the corner of his eyes suddenly caught a glimpse of a few strange petals drifting away from one of the floating corpses in the river…

Gerald, for one, was certainly no stranger to them.

‘…Dead Annies…? They brought Dead Annies with them?! Could they be from the Gunter family then? Were they the ones who wanted to capture me?’

As Gerald continued speculating the situation, he jumped in fright upon hearing coughing sounds out of the blue! Looking around, the sound seemed to be coming from the cabin on the wooden boat… Judging from how high-pitched the coughs were, Gerald simply assumed it was a female.

Regardless, Gerald carefully lifted the curtains to clear his doubts… And there, lying on the floor, was an unconscious woman.

From how much she was coughing and wrinkling her brows in her knocked-out state, Gerald could guess that her mental state was currently under attack by Dead Annies. Even so, that wasn’t what shocked Gerald the most.

No, what made Gerald momentarily stupefied, was the fact that the woman in question was none other than Yume…

Gerald Crawford:The Secretly Rich Man Novel (Invisible or Poorest) Chapter 1295
“…Yume?”

‘…It really is her…! So it’s true that she wasn’t actually dead!’

Both of them had gotten acquainted with each other on their way to the king of the ocean’s palace. Gerald himself had already saved her on multiple occasions before her eventual disappearance.

Speaking of her disappearance, Gerald had constantly been troubled and filled with self-reproach from the moment she went missing after he fainted—due to a Dead Annie attack—at the entrance of the king of the ocean’s palace. Upon waking, he remembered how he felt as though she had just vanished off the face of the planet.

He even went so far as to send people out to carefully search for Yume—regardless of whether she was dead or still alive—in the area surrounding the king of the ocean’s palace for over a month, though to no avail.

It was around then when Gerald first started wondering if Yume had actually been saved by someone else. After all, he knew that she was looking for the woman in white as well. For all he knew, she had already found the woman in white’s corpse!

Well, his speculation of her being saved was true at least.

‘Still… Why is she even here…? She’s a Gunter too, no…?’ Gerald thought to himself, filled with questions as he helped her regain consciousness using a secret technique.

Due to Gerald’s help, Yume’s expression turned way better in no time at all. Soon enough, Yume’s eyelids began fluttering open ever so slowly, revealing her beautiful eyes…

When she saw Gerald, however, she immediately jolted awake. Though she was definitely shocked, she quickly snapped out of it and grabbed onto Gerald’s arm before shouting, “There are people out to get you, Gerald! You need to run! Quickly!”

Helping her to her feet, Gerald then turned to look at the corpses floating on the river before asking, “You mean them?”

Staring wide-eyed at the dead bodies, Yume replied in sheer disbelief, “You… You killed all seven of them…?”

“Indeed. Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but all of them are from the Gunter family, no?”

Upon hearing Gerald’s question, Yume instantly lowered her head, revealing a slight blush on her charming face.

“…They are, indeed. All seven of them are- well, were, exceptional people from my family… Still, I truly hadn’t expected them to stalk me! After realizing who they were—before I got completely knocked out by their Dead Annie attack—I immediately knew that they had followed me to deal with you!”

“…I see. Regardless, it seems to me that you didn’t tell me the truth about many things back then… For one, I couldn’t detect the strange inner strength—that I’m currently sensing from you—back then… Were you simply pretending to be weak at the time?” asked Gerald, now that he had a much clearer understanding of the situation.

“I… I admit that I lied to you before, but after getting to know you better, I’ve long lost any intentions of hurting you!” replied Yume, looking seemingly afraid that Gerald was going to further misunderstand her.

“So you admit to it. Well, now that you have, why should I continue believing in you? After all, you’re the high and mighty young lady of the Gunter family!” said Gerald with a bitter smile.

“Even if you choose not to believe in me, please understand that you can’t stay here any longer! I’ll eventually give you a clearer explanation, but for now, please just follow me! We really need to hide!” replied Yume.

While Gerald felt that her eyes seemed sincere enough to be trusted, he was no longer the same person he was two years ago. He knew for a fact that the more beautiful a woman was, the more deceptive she could be, and Yume was extremely charming.

Since he now knew that he had already been fooled once by her, he couldn’t help but have his guard up.

Though it was true that he now sensed immense inner strength from Yume, that wasn’t what worried him most. No, the truth was, while Gerald was sure that she wouldn’t be able to beat him with her current strength alone, he knew he would be no match against her if she chose to attack him with Dead Annies!

With that in mind, if she was actually fooling him again, it would definitely be extremely difficult for him to retreat, thus his hesitation to believe her.

Seemingly reading Gerald’s thoughts, Yume then said, “Look, I know you’re afraid of the Dead Annies. Here, I’m tossing all of mine now! Since you’re capable enough to kill those seven exceptional Gunters, you should know that without the flowers, I’m practically harmless to you! So please, please just believe me and let me stay by your side…!”

Following that, Gerald watched as she tossed any petals she had on hand into the river.

“There, I have none on me now! With that said, know that I only asked you out since I wanted to explain all this to you… I never expected Lady Gunter to send these people to stalk me! I… I truly never meant to harm you, Gerald…!” explained Yume, her eyes now starting to slightly tear up.

Gerald Crawford:The Secretly Rich Man Novel (Invisible or Poorest) Chapter 1296
After a momentary pause, Gerald took in a deep breath before saying, “…Fine. Since you don’t have any Dead Annies on you anymore, I can at least be sure that if you intend to do anything suspicious, you’ll go down with me!”

With that said, Gerald then grabbed Yume by the shoulder before making a giant leap together with her! Once they landed safely on the shore, Yume told Gerald where the hiding spot was, and Gerald made sure to hold on tightly to her as the duo swiftly made their way there.

Knowing that he currently lacked the strength to brawl against both Queena and the King of Judgement Portal, Gerald couldn’t help but constantly have his guard up now that he knew that he was potentially about to confront the mysterious Gunters.

Soon enough, they got to a cave that was located in the outskirts. Upon entering, Gerald immediately sealed a few major blood vessels in Yume’s body!

“…Are you serious? You still don’t believe that I’m not planning to harm you?” said Yume as she took in a deep breath to attempt to suppress her disappointment.

“I’ll have you know that I give no second chances to anyone who breaks my trust! Now as promised, tell me the truth about the incident!” replied Gerald coldly.

“…I see. Before that, allow me to ask you something. Not only have you saved me on multiple occasions, but you’ve also constantly looked out for me to the point where after realizing that I had gone missing, you actually sent your men out to tirelessly locate me for well over a month! Hell, you even told the locals to report to you if any of them saw me! With that in mind, I wish to know. Did you do all that just to gain answers from me, or was it because of something else?” asked Yume as she stared at him with reddened and teary eyes.

From her explanation, Gerald now knew that she was aware of everything that he had done up till this point. So she had been keeping an eye on him this entire time…

“The truth is, I had initially promised to bring you to the king of the ocean’s palace since I was worried that it would be too dangerous for you to head there alone. I won’t lie that I was also hoping to gain more clues from you. Regardless, after you went missing, I was filled with regret, and that prompted me to try all means possible to search for you!” replied Gerald.

Though Gerald had initially only helped her for slightly selfish purposes, his worry about her treading into such unsafe territory quickly outweighed that. It was the reason why he had promised to bring her along. By doing so, he could at least keep her out of harm’s way.

Despite that, to think that she would actually go missing right under his nose! With the very real possibility of her being dead, Gerald had brimmed with both grief and self-reproach for the longest time.

If he had known that all this would happen, he would’ve simply chosen to give up on finding out about Yume’s secrets rather than bring her along with him.

After hearing Gerald’s reply, Yume couldn’t help but break into a gratified smile. After all, she now truly knew that Gerald had simply been treating her as a friend this entire time.

While she did have slight feelings for Gerald, it was due to all those times Gerald had saved her and not because of the d*mned marriage stone of Master Ghost’s.

She remembered a time when she had wanted to secretly kill Gerald, though in the end, she simply couldn’t bring herself to do so. If she had, well, Gerald naturally wouldn’t have arrived at the king of the ocean’s palace in the first place!

Of course, she hadn’t fallen for him yet at that point in time. She simply found herself unable to do the deed.

Regardless, after she went ‘missing,’ Yume began secretly keeping an eye on Gerald. It was then when she realized how much he cared for her. After all, Gerald had left no part of the ocean—surrounding the king of the ocean’s palace—unchecked. He simply refused to give up on his search for her until well over a month—after her disappearance—had passed.

She had also witnessed him sitting at the beach for an entire day and night in silence, simply staring out at sea the entire time.

Eventually, she watched as he threw a small ornament—that had been salvaged from the ocean—into the sea. It was then when she realized just how great his guilt for losing her truly was. He really did treat her as his friend.

Seeing that, Yume—at the time—couldn’t help but feel an odd emotion welling within her, though it wasn’t a bad one. Rather, it felt sweet. After all, nobody had ever treated her the way Gerald did.

It was only when she was thinking about the moments she had shared with Gerald that she finally realized something. Master Ghost’s marriage stone was truly an object that was both strange and evil.

After all, she actually began missing him every day after that, constantly worrying about his safety. The more she thought about it, the more anxious she became, and thus came the restless nights…

‘Could my love story truly end this tragically? Have I really fallen in love with a person who will never love me back…?’

Even if that was the case, Yume had sworn to herself that she wouldn’t lie to Gerald for a second time. With that in mind, she took in a deep breath before saying, “…Fine, I’ll give you the truth! I’ll tell you everything I know, but once I’m done, our friendship will be over, you hear? We simply can’t be friends anymore! Humph!”

Gerald Crawford:The Secretly Rich Man Novel (Invisible or Poorest) Chapter 1297
With that out of the way, Yume then slowly began sharing what she knew about the situation.

As it turned out, there was already a scheme targeting Gerald from the very beginning. Under the orders of her family, Yume had two main objectives. The first was to locate the woman in white in the king of the ocean’s palace. As for the other, it was to capture Gerald in secret before bringing him back to the Gunters.

It was the reason why she had pretended to be frailer than she actually was. By ‘getting injured’ she knew that she would eventually be able to gain Gerald’s pity.

Even after she gained his pity, however, she was unable to make any moves on him. After all, she hadn’t expected to be that moved by Gerald’s actions. She simply couldn’t bring herself to do the deed.

Eventually, both of them embarked for the king of the ocean’s palace together. Of course, the old woman that they had met was none other than Yume’s grandmother—and also the master of the Gunter family—Lady Gunter.

Regardless, she was well aware of Gerald’s weakness to Dead Annies. It was due to that knowledge that she was able to inflict heavy wounds on Gerald in the first place. Even so, she had made sure to seal her own strength back then for fear that she would accidentally kill him.

Whatever the case was, Lady Gunter had wanted to make her move back then since Gerald was already in such a weak state. However, Yume kept signaling—by twirling her hair with a finger—and shooting warning glares at Lady Gunter every time she made an attempt to hurt Gerald.

In a way, it almost seemed like she was saying, ‘If you dare hurt Gerald, I’ll die before you right this instant!’

After several more gestures warning her grandmother not to make a move, Lady Gunter eventually got so infuriated that she pretended to be injured before making her escape.

Even so, it was evident that she wasn’t ever going to allow Gerald to locate the woman in white. After all, the king of the ocean’s palace—that Gerald would later enter—was formed according to the Dead Annies, theory, ‘Two petals bloom, and each petal represents a world.’

In other words, Lady Gunter had used that secret technique at the entrance of the king of the ocean’s palace to lead Gerald into a completely different—yet similar-looking—world.

As for Yume’s ‘disappearance’, it was due to her being taken along with Lady Gunter to the real king of the ocean’s palace. They even succeeded in transferring the real woman in white’s corpse away!

After hearing all that, Gerald then replied, “…I see. That doesn’t explain why my subordinates weren’t able to detect your life signals, though.”

“Well, it’s not very well-known, but not only can Dead Annies be used to disrupt one’s mental abilities, it’s also capable of disrupting magnetic fields! With that in mind, Lady Gunter has the ability to make herself near-invisible with the aid of the Dead Annies! Using that ability, even a person standing right in front of her wouldn’t be able to tell she was there!” explained Yume.

“…None of that explains why your family even wants the woman in white’s corpse in the first place. Also, why does it seem like me being captured plays a huge role in this scheme of yours? I can barely see the relation between those two objectives!” replied Gerald.

“Well, from what grandma told me, there’s a massive connection between you and the woman in white… Apparently, there’s a large secret hidden within both of you, and the first person who manages to uncover that secret will be able to gain mastery of the strongest power!”

“…A… secret…?” replied Gerald, clearly puzzled by this sudden turn of events.

No wonder the King of Judgement Portal had been targeting him… Hell, even the Gunters were starting to make their moves now. So this was what they were after.

‘Still… What secret could lie within me…?’

Yume, for one, definitely didn’t look like she knew any more than she had already told him.

“Regardless, you need to escape quickly while you still can, Gerald! You’re no match against those from the Squad of Divine Grimness, Judgement Portal, or even my family! Should you end up falling into either of their hands, then your death won’t be out of the question anymore!” pleaded Yume.

“Also, I’ll have you know that the Judgement Portal has already sent out an extremely strong person out to hunt you down! He goes by the name of Hogan, and… Well, let’s just say with how strong he is, even grandma is terrified of him! He’s barely even human anymore! Putting that aside, again, I implore you not to step anywhere near my family. Otherwise, escape will truly be impossible!” added Yume, intense fear in her eyes.

“You’re saying that Lady Gunter is afraid of this Hogan person as well?” replied Gerald, stunned.

To think that once upon a time ago, he had assumed that Kort was the strongest opponent he would ever have to face. Of course, then came Christopher and now there was this person called Hogan as well…

From the looks of it, Christopher had only been the tip of the iceberg. While normally that would’ve been the peak difficulty for any of Gerald’s opponents, looking at how things were going, Gerald could now safely assume that there were many more dangers that hadn’t even come into contact with Earth.

“Look, if you still refuse to leave, maybe this will scare some sense into you… When I said that Hogan was barely even human anymore, I meant that quite literally. You see, from what grandma told me, he’s actually a corpse that had been revived by the King of Judgement Portal. A zombie with consciousness, you could say. Regardless, while he obeys the King of Judgment Portal, Hogan himself very much deserves the title of the king of poison. After all, upon getting attacked by him, you’ll most certainly get afflicted with an extremely potent poison. With that in mind, even if you manage to escape from instant death, you’ll eventually still succumb to the poison!”

“She’s so well aware of all this because… Well, those from Judgement Portal once came over to our family, and we had a fight against him… Unfortunately, all of my family members involved in the fight were promptly defeated by him, and they suffered from immense poisoning as well. Had the Gunters not sought out a compromise with the King of Judgement Portal, then I’m afraid my entire family would’ve been wiped out there and then! So please, if you ever bump into him, you have to hide!”

Gerald Crawford:The Secretly Rich Man Novel (Invisible or Poorest) Chapter 1298
With how serious and fearful her voice was, Gerald could tell that Yume’s warning was the real deal.

“…Still, why did the King of Judgement Portal even come over to seek out the Gunters? Could he actually have anticipated that I would come over?” asked Gerald rather doubtfully.

“That could be one of the reasons, though I’m honestly not too sure… I’m aware of their other objective, though. From what I’ve heard, it seems that they’re planning to head to the Ancient Mountain in Ancient City! In case you didn’t know, strange incidents happen on that mountain every few years!” explained Yume.

“What sort of strange incidents…?” asked Gerald curiously.

“That I’m not too sure of,” replied Yume as she shook her head.

Despite that, Gerald was slowly succeeding in piecing together more and more pieces of the puzzle.

From what Gerald now knew, there were three powerful groups hunting him down. Even though he had already received the baptism of heaven, he knew that he still wasn’t completely out of the woods yet.

At his current strength, Gerald was well aware that he still wasn’t going to be a match against Queena, and she wasn’t the only threat either. After all, he still had the other Gunters, the Judgement Portal, Hogan, and the King of Judgement Portal to deal with.

The more he thought about it, the more he realized how dangerous his current situation was. After all, from the way things had been progressing, he could get caught by any of them at any moment.

“Whatever the case is, just continue hiding in the meantime… Since I’ve already told you all this, I’m assuming I’ve repaid all your kindness from back then! With that in mind, we’ll be enemies the next time we meet again! Until then, take care!” said Yume as she looked one final time at Gerald before dashing off into the night.

It was a little while later when Yume snuck into the Gunter family’s manor. To her utter shock, her entire family was seated in the spacious hall, seemingly waiting for her to return!

As everyone turned to look at her, Yume quickly realized who had planned all this.

“L-lady Gunter!” exclaimed Yume, her face reflecting her brimming anxiety.

“If I recall correctly, I’ve grounded you from leaving the manor ever since we returned from the king of the ocean’s palace… I guess you’ve suffered a bit too much to want to sneak out that badly!” said Lady Gunter with a faint smile. The way she said it suggested that the old lady knew exactly when Yume had snuck out earlier.

With that in mind, Yume immediately knelt with a ‘plop’ before replying, “I… I know you already know everything that I’ve done earlier… While it’s true that I ruined your plans by meeting up with Gerald, I… I just wish to repay his kindness… He’s honestly a kind person who’s not even remotely close to how evil you’ve described him to be! He truly is kind, so please, Lady Gunter…! Please let him off!”

Though Yume’s eyes were now red and teary, the other Gunters simply intensified their glares after hearing what she had to say. Lady Gunter herself looked especially enraged.

“You b*stard of a granddaughter…! It seems that it wasn’t wrong of me to worry about you! You’ve been bewitched, you hear! None of the Crawfords are good people, especially that pretentious Gerald! He only used you to help him look for the king of the ocean’s palace! Even after that, to think that you would actually go behind my back and inform him about all this in secret! You truly are a textbook example of biting the hand that feeds you! Let me remind you that you’re the indirect cause of the deaths of seven exceptional people from our family! If I hadn’t intended to beat him at his own game, you wouldn’t be able to escape from undergoing family punishment!” scowled the old lady, the corner of her lips twitching in rage.

While Yume now knew that Lady Gunter was aware of the seven deaths, something else her grandmother had said sent shivers down her spine. Trembling, she then asked, “…Beat him at his own game…? Lady Gunter, what do you mean by that?”

“Humph! Since Gerald has come to Querton City, do you honestly think that Lady Gunter will let him off that easily?”

Gerald Crawford:The Secretly Rich Man Novel (Invisible or Poorest) Chapter 1299
“That’s enough! Lock her up in her room, and be sure to guard her closely! From today onward, she’s prohibited from leaving her room!” shouted Yreth. Hearing that, a few guards ran over and instantly led Yume to her room, as per Lady Gunter’s orders.

Now that her granddaughter had been taken care of, Yreth was confident that she would be able to gain what she wanted from Gerald.

Gerald himself was now swiftly running away from the cave in the dark of night. After learning more about the three groups’ plans to capture him, he didn’t dare linger around for any more than he needed to.

His current plan was to first find Chester then leave this place together with him.

However, just as he was about to leave the suburbs—and re-enter the city area—Gerald suddenly heard rustling sounds coming from the surrounding forests.

From how loud and swift the rustling was, one would normally assume that it was some kind of extremely fast animal. However, Gerald had a gut feeling that that was no animal. Stopping in his tracks, Gerald then went into high alert to figure out what—or who—he was dealing with.

If he was going to be completely honest, Gerald now felt like the temperature had just plummeted. Whatever was out there, it was sending intense chills down his spine.

‘What—or who—on earth is targeting me this time…?’ Gerald thought to himself as endless beads of sweat rolled down his forehead. The fear he was currently feeling was almost primal in nature, and it was unlike anything he had previously felt.

Eventually, Gerald slowly raised his head… And there, he was.

Standing under the faint moonlight—atop a close-by tree—was a towering and sturdy-looking man who had his arms crossed as he stared down at Gerald. While the man’s face was a purplish-black and his lips a dark shade of purple, his eyes gleamed in scarlet hues. Adding that to the fact that darkness just seemed to exude from that man, Gerald could only describe him as corpse-like!

As he continued staring at Gerald without moving a muscle, Gerald himself now knew the source of all his fear. It was as though his entire being was being suppressed just from the sight of that imposing man alone.

In his terrified state, Gerald found himself taking a few steps back before saying, “…Hogan?”

The second he said that, Gerald watched wide-eyed as Hogan’s massive body leaped into the air… and landed gently atop a fragile-looking branch! While that alone was impressive enough, Gerald barely even had the time to react as Hogan used the slight rebound of the branch to launch himself at Gerald at lightning speed!

Being more accustomed to danger than others, Gerald quickly snapped out of his daze and instantly began attempting to retreat!

Before Gerald could even get far, however, he felt a massive tremor as Hogan landed heavily on the ground! Turning back to look, Gerald watched as Hogan spread out his arms and revealed both of his hands…

The tips of Hogan’s fingernails looked as sharp as a hungry wolf’s fangs, and in a way, it almost felt like Hogan had iron claws instead of actual hands. What more, a strange darkness seemed to be enveloping both of Hogan’s hands.

At that moment, Gerald realized that Yume hadn’t been exaggerating at all. Hogan truly was more of a weapon than an actual human at this point. A weapon brought to life by reanimating a corpse.

“Running away? From me? I’ll say it now that it won’t be easy, boy! Now come with me! My master and Lady Gunter are waiting for you!” said Hogan before screeching in a way that resembled a crow’s cry.

Watching as Hogan then immediately—and swiftly—began walking toward him, Gerald quickly activated his inner strength. Fully ready to lose his artifact, as he commanded in his mind, ‘Dawnbreaker!’

With that, the black short blade came to life.

Since Hogan’s entire body almost seemed to be completely plated with iron, Gerald felt that his only means of fighting against that hulking man was by using the Dawnbreaker.

Regardless, the blade then shot out of Gerald’s sleeve at almost breakneck speed, aimed right for Hogan’s neck!

To Gerald’s utter horror, the usually trusty Dawnbreaker wasn’t even close to posing a threat to Hogan. After all, the massive man had simply pinched the blade between two of his claw-like fingers like it was nothing!

Tossing the blade to the ground, Hogan then grunted before coldly saying, “I told you to come with me!”

‘This… This person is far too strong…!’ Gerald thought to himself, his sheer disbelief evident on his face.

However, Hogan was done waiting. Gerald could only see Hogan’s blurry figure as the giant of a man began rushing toward Gerald at immense speed!

The next thing Gerald knew, a huge and powerful-looking hand was inches away from his stomach…

Gerald Crawford:The Secretly Rich Man Novel (Invisible or Poorest) Chapter 1300
There was no way in hell that Gerald was going to be able to dodge that attack. A split second later, Gerald found himself flying backward as every inch of his body throbbed in immense pain! Soaring on, Gerald could taste something sweet in his mouth before vomiting blood briefly after!

Eventually falling to the ground, Gerald ended up rolling several times before eventually coming to a stop. If he had to describe what he was currently feeling, it almost seemed like all his internal organs had shifted from their initial positions from that one punch.

Even so, this was no time for him to wallow in pain. Attempting to gather his inner strength, Gerald quickly realized that he couldn’t do so due to how terribly he had been injured!

‘Is this truly my end? Will I be defeated here in Qerton City? Jade pendant, if you’re there, please lend me your aid…!’

Though Gerald had hoped that the jade pendant would save his life since he was now in such critical condition—just like the previous time it had activated—he found, to his dismay, that no matter how much he cried out to it, it simply didn’t respond!

Soon enough, Hogan was right in front of him again, a frigid expression on his face. Easily lifting the injured Gerald up, Hogan then said in a chilling voice, “So you attempted to kill me, huh? Then it’s only fair for me to torture you in return before I bring you back to master and Lady Gunter!”

With that, he tossed Gerald again without warning! Finding himself flying backward once more, Gerald felt as his now-limp body crashed into tree after tree, leaving a trail of tumbled tree trunks before him! By the time Gerald’s body finally stopped—after breaking at least eight study-looking trees—he felt as though all his bones had already turned to dust as he slowly lost consciousness from all the pain.

Hogan, however, was far from done.

To him, as long as Gerald could still breathe and he was successfully delivered to the King of Judgement Portal, Hogan’s task would still be considered to be a success. As for why he was so keen on torturing Gerald, it was because Gerald had attempted to kill him earlier. Due to that, Gerald was essentially his enemy now.

With that in mind, Hogan then began smashing his fists into Gerald’s stomach, ruining all his internal organs! Following that, he also made sure to smash all four of Gerald’s limbs by stepping on them!

Gerald himself kept waking up due to the immense pain before falling unconscious again. It was truly a living hell for him, and Gerald didn’t even have the means to fight back anymore.

Eventually, Hogan stepped on Gerald’s stomach, forcing the injured youth to vomit what little blood remained in his body. Watching as Hogan lifted his hand, Gerald was conscious enough to realize that he was aiming his iron claws right for his chest!

At the very last moment, Gerald managed to wiggle just enough for the iron claws to avoid his chest. However, they still managed to pierce deep into Gerald’s left shoulder!

‘You f*cker…!’ Gerald thought to himself as surges of immense pain filled every inch of his body. Now completely dazed, Gerald was in too much pain to remain conscious, but at the same time, the pain also kept him awake.

Smiling coldly as he watched Gerald’s lips turn dark, Hogan knew that the poison was taking effect.

At that moment, he suddenly began hearing ‘swooshing’ sounds. If Hogan had to describe it, it almost seemed as though near-countless arrows had just been shot.

Straightening his body, Hogan then stopped torturing Gerald for a second before looking around while asking in a wrath-filled voice, “…Who goes there?”

In response, however, the sound he had initially heard only seemed to get louder.

It was then when Hogan finally saw it. Eyes widened, Hogan watched a ray of light fell from the sky at extremely high speeds… And it looked like it was heading straight for him! In a way, it almost seemed like a meteor that was intent on landing on him.

From where he stood, Hogan could sense that the ray of light was capable of ripping apart even space, and that fact alone was enough to cause panic to arise within him.

‘That… That thing’s dangerous!’ Hogan thought to himself as he immediately began taking a few steps backward, not even bothering about Gerald anymore.

In fact, he was so terrified that he actually tripped and fell on his buttocks before quickly getting up again and dashing away! When he turned back to check on the light, however, his eyes instantly widened to the point where it almost felt like his eyeballs were going to pop out.

The ray of light was homing in on him! No matter where he ran, the light simply continued following him around! It was almost as though the ray of light had eyes or something!

Hogan knew he couldn’t keep running forever, so he dragged his—now-heavy—body to a large tree, hoping that by taking cover, the ray of light would somehow miss him.

Alas, that did little to help him as the ray of light blasted right through the tree and right into his back! Howling in pain, Hogan felt almost disgusted by how badly he wanted to leave this place as he was sent flying dozens of feet away!

His entire body now as limp as a broken kite, he ended up tumbling onto the ground, but that wasn’t the end of his pain yet. Hogan now realized that white smoke had been rising from his body from the moment the light had hit him! Screaming in pain as he covered his chest, he noticed as black blood began oozing profusely out of his chest!

Even in so much pain, he knew that he couldn’t afford to linger around any longer. With that in mind, he forced himself up before fleeing the area in the dark of night.

As for Gerald, well, he had watched all this happen though from an extremely blurry perspective. Trickles of blood dripping from his open and foaming mouth, Gerald felt as the pain finally soothed enough for him to faint in peace.

Before his eyes shut, however, he watched as a middle-aged man—donning black clothes—quickly walked over to him…

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