Gerald Crawford: The Secretly or invisible Rich Man Chapter 1841
“I appreciate the reminder, Mr. Bates, but we still have an important mission to accomplish. Since the sooner we locate the territory of the Phangrottom Clan the better, we’ll only be staying the night! We’ll leave at dawn!” replied Gerald in a gratuitous tone as he looked at Mr. Bates.
Upon hearing that, Mr. Bates said nothing. Even so, if one paid close attention to his reaction, they would be able to see his face twitching slightly in response…
It was late into the night before Gerald and his party finally decided to sleep. To ensure that they wouldn’t get sneak attacked in the night, Gerald suggested that the four of them take turns keeping watch.
After agreeing, Gerald was elected first to stay on guard whereas the others headed to bed.
Thankfully, even after his shift ended and he swapped places with Rey, nothing much really happened throughout the night.
The party of four awoke early the next morning and instantly began packing up. Gerald himself walked over to the door to check on how things were looking outside…
To his surprise, he was immediately greeted by the sight of Mr. Bates standing right in front of their door!
Definitely not expecting to meet Mr. Bates in such a way, the wide-eyed Gerald then stared at the calm-looking man for a while before asking, “…Is… there something I can help you with, Mr. Bates…?”
“Tell me, are you really sure that you want to look for the territory of the Phangrottom Clan? Is there no way to deter you?” asked Mr. Bates in a serious tone.
Upon hearing that, Gerald quickly shook his shock off before nodding and determinedly replying, “Indeed, Mr. Bates. We absolutely must go!”
“…Very well, then. Since you’re so adamant, I’ll lead you there. However, I must remind you that in the end, everything depends on your fate!” declared Mr. Bates, surprising Gerald once more.
Gerald, for one, hadn’t expected Mr. Bate’s attitude to change that quickly. After all, the man had been trying his hardest to deter them from looking for the territory of the Phangrottom Clan for most of the night. To think that he was now willing to lead them there!
Still, just as Gerald had thought, Mr. Bates knew where the territory of the Phangrottom Clan was. With that in mind, Gerald was prompted to wonder whether the death of the previous party—that had attempted to locate the place—had anything to do with Mr. Bates…
Regardless, Gerald’s train of thought was cut short when he heard Mr. Bates say, “Let’s not waste any more time. Hurry and pack up!”
Watching as Mr. Bates then turned around to leave, Gerald himself quickly ordered the rest of his party to hasten their packing.
Shortly after, everyone was ready to leave, and they began following Mr. Bates into the depths of the mountains…
Not a word was uttered throughout the entire journey, so eventually, Gerald took the initiative to break the silence by saying, “So… Why the change of heart, Mr. Bates?”
“Let’s just say you’re different from that previous party!” replied Mr. Bates in a calm tone.
“…Different in what way, Mr. Bates…?” asked Gerald in a curious tone.
“Hah! The earlier party who came looking for the clan were only interested in robbing the tomb! With how blinded by greed they were, it was pretty much impossible for them to locate the Phangrottom Clan in the first place! Them dying only makes sense!” replied Mr. Bates in a calm tone, almost as though he was unfazed by their deaths…
Growing even more curious now, Gerald then asked, “…How… exactly did they die, Mr. Bates…?”
“Hmm? I killed them of course,” replied Mr. Bates.
The second he heard that, Gerald’s expression instantly darkened. To think that Mr. Bates would confess to something like this so casually!
Gerald Crawford: The Secretly or invisible Rich Man Chapter 1842
“Don’t worry, I won’t harm you. After all, I trust you way more than that previous group!” added Mr. Bates when he saw the drastic change in Gerald’s expression.
Though Mr. Bates said that, Gerald was rightfully still slightly worried. After all, who knew whether the man was telling the truth? Despite his worries, Gerald understood that he still required Mr. Bates’s guidance for now.
With that in mind, he could only choose to act accordingly. The second Gerald found something amiss with Mr. Bates, he would surely deal with the man without mercy…
Following that awkward conversation, the group walked for about another hour before finally arriving at what appeared to be a gigantic Stonehenge lookalike…
Naturally bewildered by the sight of it, Gerald was prompted to ask, “And… this is?”
“This is where the portal that leads to the most feminine place can be opened. After passing through that area, you’ll soon be able to find the territory of the Phangrottom Clan. Mind you, however, that getting past the most feminine place isn’t as simple as you’re probably imagining. A weak mind will easily be overtaken by the many ghosts there, and once that happens, you’ll end up being trapped in there forever!” explained Mr. Bates in an earnest tone.
Upon hearing that, Gerald then took out the map that Old Flint had given him… And after looking at it for a while, there was no doubt about it. As it turned out, they really were at the right place. Mr. Bates hadn’t been fooling them at all.
With that in mind, Gerald then turned to look at Mr. Bates before asking, “…Then… When will the portal open?”
“It’ll open in three days. That’s the middle of the month, if you’re curious as to why. Regardless, take note that the portal will only remain open for three days. If you fail to return before then, you’ll be trapped there for life, even when the portal reopens in the future!” replied Mr. Bates in a kind tone.
“…Is there no other way we can enter that place…?” asked Gerald as he looked at Mr. Bates, not wanting to have to wait for three days. After all, he was sure that there were definitely other ways to enter the most feminine place.
Understanding Gerald’s motive, Mr. Bates then said, “Patience is a virtue, young man! However… Since it was the heavens that fated our meeting, I suppose I could open the portal in advance. However, note that if I do so, only three of you are allowed to enter. One of you has to stay behind! Also, you can’t enter alone either. There needs to be at least two of you, that’s just how it is.”
Despite that being the case, Gerald looked utterly delighted.
Watching as Gerald turned to face them, Juno was prompted to say, “Why don’t you and Rey go, Gerald? I’ll stay out here with Yrsa!”
Hearing that, Gerald thought for a moment before asking, “Say… Since you said that only two to three people can enter at a time… Could Rey and I enter first before Juno and Yrsa follow behind? That’s technically entering in pairs, no?”
Since Mr. Bates immediately shook his head, Gerald could only sigh. It was worth a shot.
At that moment, Rey cleared his throat before saying, “…On the contrary, I think you should head there with Miss Zorn, Mr. Crawford. I’ll stay out here with Yrsa!”
After all, since Juno and Gerald were both trained cultivators, they would be able to look out for each other more efficiently once they were inside.
To his surprise, Juno quickly replied, “No, it’s too dangerous for you and Yrsa to stay out here without us. With that in mind, just go along with Gerald. That way, I can protect my disciple as we wait for your return.”
“I’ll have to agree with Miss Zorn. The two of us are entering, and that’s that!” added Gerald, who was also worried that Rey and Yrsa would find themselves in deep trouble—if Gerald and Juno entered together—since neither of them could properly defend themselves.
Gerald Crawford: The Secretly or invisible Rich Man Chapter 1843
“…Alright then!” replied Rey with a nod.
Hearing that, Gerald then said, “It’s decided then, Mr. Bates. Both of us will be entering, so please open the portal for us in advance!”
Upon hearing that, Mr. Bates said nothing. Instead, he walked over to the largest stone pillar in the middle of the ‘Stonehenge’ before pulling out a small knife from his sleeve…
After making a small cut in his hand, he placed his bleeding palm onto what appeared to be the symbol of a ghost eye on the pillar… and seconds later, the pillar began shaking as the other surrounding pillars began glowing in hues of blue!
Shortly after, a blue portal appeared before Gerald and his party…
“That’s the portal. Head in now, and remember. Only three days or you’ll never be able to leave!” reminded Mr. Bates as Gerald and Rey nodded.
“Got it! Don’t worry, Mr. Bates! Also, I’ll have to trouble you to take care of the two of them in the meantime. Thanks for everything!” replied Gerald in a determined voice as looked at the man.
After seeing Mr. Botes nod, Gerald and Rey then entered the portal… and the second they made it across, the portal vanished.
The pillars themselves instantly stopped glowing, making it seem as though nothing had ever happened here…
Regardless, after witnessing such a magical scene, both Juno and Yrsa could only gape in awe…
Meanwhile, Gerald and Rey found themselves walking through some kind of tunnel-like passage…
Leaning close, the already terrified Rey grabbed onto Gerald’s clothes while muttering, “P-please remember to protect me well, Mr. Crawford…!”
“…Didn’t you say that you weren’t afraid of ghosts?” grumbled Gerald.
“Well, yeah… I’m not afraid of ghost movies, but this is reality! Who knows when a ghost could pop up?” replied Rey in his slight cowardice.
Things were definitely way scarier when he wasn’t expecting ghosts to only pop up on screen!
Regardless, Gerald remained silent, knowing where Rey was coming from. After all, Rey wasn’t used to dealing with ghosts yet, so it was normal to be frightened. Courage would surely come once the lad got used to it.
Whatever the case was, it was about ten minutes later when they finally got out of the passageway… and they were instantly greeted by the sight of a large stone tablet.
Carved on it were four individual characters that stated, ‘The most feminine place’.
Looking beyond the tablet, the duo was able to see another path that seemed to lead to the centermost area in the most feminine place… That was also supposedly the area where various ghosts and spirits resided…
“The true adventure starts here, Rey. Prepare your mind and please refrain from screaming or shouting when anything happens! Just endure it!” warned Gerald as he looked at Rey.
After all, if Rey’s screaming accidentally disturbed the ghosts’ and spirits’ peace, it would surely spell a world of trouble for them…
“I-I’m ready, Mr. Crawford!” replied Rey after taking a deep breath.
Nodding slightly in response, Gerald then began leading the way into the depths of the most feminine place…
With how gloomy and dark the entire place was, just being here would surely send shivers down the spines of even the bravest of people… Naturally, Gerald and Rey were no exceptions.
If this was how it was going to feel throughout their stay here, it now made sense why Mr. Bates had made it compulsory for at least two people to enter at a time…
Had Gerald chosen to enter alone, he would surely be overpowered by the threatening ghostly aura around him… If that happened, he would essentially end up becoming a full ghost himself, causing him to be trapped in this place forever…
Regardless, after walking past a bridge, the duo soon came across a city of sorts…
Gerald Crawford: The Secretly or invisible Rich Man Chapter 1844
The city was known as Phantom City, and it was a city that was made specifically for ghosts and spirits.
From where they stood, Gerald and Rey could see that everything in the city looked ancient… The duo was also able to see several ghostly peddlers—that varied in appearance—scattered all over what appeared to be a market in the city.
Understanding that most of the spirit world was going to look like this, the duo decided to make haste and began walking toward the city’s entrance…
However, upon reaching the city’s gates, their entry was promptly blocked by a pale-faced man donning a long black robe.
Staring at the two with his blue eyes, the black-robed man declared, “Neither of you belong here. Leave!”
“Before that… Who exactly are you…?” asked Gerald.
“I go by Phanto, and I’m the phantom officer of this place!” introduced Phanto, much to the surprise of Gerald and Rey.
To think that phantom officers existed in the first place! It was almost like they were in some television drama or something!
After a slight pause, Gerald smiled faintly before replying, “We’re only passing through this place, and we aren’t here to cause trouble, sir. With that in mind, please allow us to pass!”
Since this wasn’t his usual territory, Gerald knew that he had to refrain from acting rashly. At the very least, he needed to remain polite.
However, if a similar scene had happened in the real world, Gerald would’ve already made a move on whoever dared to obstruct his way. As if he would have the time to waste with politeness!
“Look, I need a passing permit to allow you to enter! If you don’t have any, don’t even dream about entering!” replied Phanto in a stern voice.
“A passing permit? How do we obtain one?” asked Gerald.
Hearing that, Phanto then pointed at a tall tower emitting dark blue lights—that honestly wasn’t all that far away—before explaining, “You can get it by passing a test there. Once you’ve got that done, you’ll receive your passing permit!”
“Thank you for sharing!” replied Gerald as he began walking toward the tower with Rey.
As it turned out, entering the most feminine places really wasn’t going to be as easy as they had anticipated. Since Gerald couldn’t think of any other way to enter and he would very much prefer to resolve this issue without using force, the only way forward was to pass that test… At the very least he wouldn’t end up offending any of the locals.
Regardless, they soon found that the tall tower’s gates had been tightly locked. Even so, they knew that there were individuals inside since the interior constantly glowed in that familiar blue hue…
With that in mind, Gerald was just about to knock on the door when suddenly, it swung open!
Before Gerald could even react, a cold and gloomy-sounding voice could be heard coming from inside, shouting, “Enter!”
Hearing that, Gerald was first to enter. However, just as Rey was about to follow, the gates suddenly slammed shut behind Gerald!
“…H-huh? What’s happening, Mr. Crawford…?” asked the astonished Rey.
“One individual at a time!” yelled the same voice from before.
Understanding that this was simply a rule to this place, the disheartened Rey could only sit on one of the tower’s many steps as he waited for Gerald to return…
Gerald Crawford: The Secretly or invisible Rich Man Chapter 1845
Gerald himself soon came across a white-haired person donning a long, grey robe…
“Hmm… I can see that you’re half human and half ghost!” said the robed person as he stared at Gerald from head to toe.
Naturally, this momentarily startled Gerald. To think that this person would be able to tell that easily!
“…And you are…?” asked Gerald.
“I go by Torme, and I’m the phantom emissary in the most feminine place. In simpler terms, I’m responsible for interacting with outsiders. It’s the reason why I was so easily able to discern your origins,” explained Torme.
“…I see. It’s a pleasure to meet you, sir. I go by Gerald Crawford, and just as you’ve said, I’m half human and ghost. However, do note that I’m also a cultivator!” replied Gerald, not feeling the need to hide that fact.
“That would explain why there’s such a massive cocktail of spiritblade and holy spirit within your body… Still, the spiritblade you own is simply astonishing. If this continues on, something will definitely happen to you!” said Torme with only good intentions.
Of course, Gerald knew for a fact that Torme was talking about the Astrabys Sword that he had on him.
Choosing to ignore the topic, Gerald then declared, “…Whatever the case is, I’m here to obtain a passing permit, sir!”
“So it would seem. I’m assuming you’re trying to head to the territory of the Phangrottom Clan, correct?” asked Torme as he stared at the youth.
“Indeed!” replied Gerald with a nod.
“I assume you know that you’ll have to pass a test before you’re able to get the permit?” said Torme as he continued staring at the youth.
“I do. It’s the reason I came here in the first place!” replied Gerald in a determined voice.
“Very well, then. Are you prepared?” asked Torme.
“Ready as ever!” declared Gerald without the slightest hesitation.
The second Gerald’s sentence ended, however, Torme seemingly vanished as Gerald’s surroundings instantly darkened!
While a regular person would’ve certainly felt that the darkness was overbearing, Gerald was no ordinary person.
Standing calmly on the spot, it wasn’t long after before a stone door appeared before Gerald.
“This will lead to the first stage of your test,” said Torme from within the darkness.
Hearing that, Gerald then turned the doorknob… and upon opening the door, he was greeted by an astonishing sight.
Before him, was near-endless people killing each other! The fact that the individuals looked like they came from different time periods only served to confuse Gerald even more.
“From the past, till the present, war has never changed… Murder and death are simply interconnected. Regardless, here are three choices. Based on what you’re currently seeing, would you choose to let all the villains die? Or perhaps you’d prefer to allow all the good people here to have a chance to get reincarnated. There’s also the option of simply allowing fate to decide… Which will it be?” asked Torme’s disembodied voice.
Upon hearing that, Gerald began pondering about it.
While the test may have seemed easy, Gerald knew that it was simply a front. After all, how could a test on human nature ever be that simple?
Either way, Gerald knew that all three choices weren’t all that bad. The problem was, which was the correct answer? He really didn’t want to fail the very first test…
Gerald Crawford: The Secretly or invisible Rich Man Chapter 1846
After thinking about it for a while longer, Gerald declared, “…I choose to let fate decide!”
“…Oh? An unexpected answer! Care to explain why?” asked Torme.
“Well, essentially, not one person can truly decide the life or death of themselves or others. In the end, fate is the final decider. If it truly is a person’s time to meet their end, then there’s simply no stopping it. With that in mind, I have no right to choose the eventual destinies of these people! While it’s true that I’d love to have all the despicable villains die, I believe that they’ll eventually reap what they’ve sown! After all, fate will surely grant them suiting ends when the time is right!” explained Gerald.
After saying all that, applause could instantly be heard as Torme said, “Not bad! You’re different from the others! Congratulations, you’ve passed the first test!”
Following that, the darkness disappeared, and everything appeared the way it had previously been. Torme himself hadn’t budged from the spot, though he was now smiling as he praised, “As you’ve said, nobody can truly decide the life and death of themselves or others. I’m glad to hear that you’re not the kind of person to mercilessly kill others!”
While Gerald was surprised to know that he had passed the first test so easily, he quickly snapped out of it before politely replying, “I appreciate the compliment, sir!”
“Well said! Regardless, are you ready for your second test?” asked Torme.
Upon saying that, Gerald watched as Torme vanished once more and his surroundings began changing again…
In the end, Gerald was enveloped in darkness again… This time, however, there was a screen with quickly alternating scenes playing on it…
From what Gerald could see, the screen was projecting the experiences of a person from the moment he was born till the day he died…
“What you’re watching is a person’s entire life… Fleeting, isn’t it? Now tell me, what do you think about life?” asked Torme’s disembodied voice.
Hearing that, Gerald turned to look at the screen, wondering if he was now being tested on his understanding of life…
‘What do I think about life…? What even is life…?’ Gerald thought to himself.
After a brief pause, Gerald was prompted to ask, “…Have you experienced life as a human before, sir?”
“I have, though I refuse to experience such a life again!” replied Torme in a slightly remorseful tone that Gerald was immediately able to up.
From what Gerald could assume, Torme must have lived an excruciating life for him not to have another shot at it.
With that, Gerald then closed his eyes tightly as multiple scenes began playing in his mind… The scenes themselves were his own experiences from when he was young up till this very day…
While it was true that as a child, he had it pretty rough, he was now living quite a good life. Wasn’t life just a series of joys and sorrows as well as partings and reunions?
It wasn’t long after that thought when Gerald reopened his eyes before saying, “…While everyone’s lives are different, to me, life is essentially just a cycle that one goes through from the day they are born till they die… The cycle itself is essential so that one gains enough experience to better themselves before they enter the afterlife…”
Gerald Crawford: The Secretly or invisible Rich Man Chapter 1847
“Pain, happiness, money, and family… all those are just small parts of life. In the end, what really matters are the choices one makes as they slowly proceed through the cycle of life… While I’m not sure what experiences you’ve undergone before, I do know that life isn’t constantly filled with grief and pain. Enjoyable parts of life definitely exist, and once individuals realize that, they’ll surely live better lives instead of constantly complaining about life’s injustices…” explained Gerald.
While Gerald hadn’t really grasped what the test was about in the beginning, after thinking about all this, he was now sure that he was being tested on how well he understood life.
What more, Gerald had noticed that the scenes playing on screen were simply Torme’s experiences when he was still alive. With that in mind, Gerald was sure that the test was also done to help Torme resolve his inner issues.
Whatever the case was, Gerald was now sure that in order to have a good life, one had to experience it to the fullest. In doing so, individuals would be able to go through the most of their grief, joy, partings, and reunions before they eventually passed on…
Regardless, after Gerald stated his answer, Torme reappeared before Gerald again, causing the room to revert to the way it was.
Smiling subtly, Torme then said, “For hundreds of years, I’ve been waiting for a person to help me resolve all my resentment… Thanks to you, I’m no longer burdened by all this! As you’ve said, going through cycles is the only way that humans are able to progress! Congratulations, you’ve passed the second test!”
Hearing that, Gerald couldn’t help but feel happy.
“…However, your life is much more different compared to others. After all, at this rate, you’re going through way more gains and losses than any average joe could ever experience. With that in mind, I hope you’re mentally prepared for the fact that in the end, some of those people will leave you for good…” added Torme.
Upon hearing that, Gerald’s heart skipped a beat. From the looks of it, Torme could see Gerald’s future…
While he now knew that, Gerald chose not to ask for any details. After all, there was no use knowing about the future. In the end, he was the one in control of his own fate, and he refused to deliberately change it just to alter the future that Torme saw.
Besides, it wasn’t as though he was going to be able to alter his future the second Torme told him about it. Every action he made could vastly change his fate, after all.
Whatever the case was, Gerald simply nodded at Torme in response before saying, “Understood, sir!”
“Very good. Now then, let the final test begin!” replied Torme as he waved his hand, causing the scene to shift again…
While Gerald was surprised that Torme didn’t even ask him if he was ready this time, he was even more astonished when he suddenly saw a figure slowly approaching him…
Squinting his eyes to get a clearer look at the figure, it wasn’t long before the stunned Gerald realized who she was…
It was none other than Juno!
When Juno got close enough, she smiled faintly before calling out, “Gerald!”
Hearing her gentle, familiar voice, Gerald couldn’t help but ask, “…Juno… You… Why are you here…?”
“Say… Why don’t we stay here forever, Gerald…? Just you and me in the most feminine place… together,” replied Juno, completely ignoring Gerald’s question.
“…Huh? Stay… here? Of all places? Why would you even suggest such a thing…?” asked the deeply confused Gerald.
“…Hmm? Could it be that you’re hesitant about staying here with me…?” replied Juno as her cheery expression instantly turned gloomy.
Before Gerald replied, he suddenly remembered that up till this point, everything that Torme had shown him had merely been illusions. With that in mind, he now knew that this ‘Juno’ was nothing more than just another illusion!
“…I refuse! After all, everything here is just an illusion!”
Gerald Crawford: The Secretly or invisible Rich Man Chapter 1848
After saying that, Gerald stared hard at the fake Juno… and in the end, his immense willpower was able to break the illusions around him!
Watching as everything returned to normal, the surprised Torme could only stare at Gerald. To think this youth would have such powerful willpower…
“…I’ve yet to meet someone who has willpower as great as yours… You truly are a powerful individual…” praised Torme.
“I appreciate the compliment, sir. Regardless, I assume you were testing me on my willpower?” asked Gerald slightly curiously.
“Indeed, and with how easily you broke the illusion, I’m pleased to say that you passed with flying colors! Your performance up till this point has been well over my expectations!” declared the amazed Torme.
Compared to all the previous others who had taken the test, Gerald was by far the fastest to shatter the illusion… It was incredulous, honestly.
Whatever the case was, Gerald then nodded before asking, “So… that’s test three, correct? How many tests are there in total, sir…?”
Realizing that he hadn’t told Gerald about that, Torme quickly replied, “There are a total of five tests, so only two remain now. Even so, I hope you don’t let your guard down since the final two tests will be the deciding factor on whether or not you get your passing permit! I’ll also say it in advance that those two tests are extremely difficult to pass, so you best prepare yourself mentally!”
“Worry not, sir! I’m ready and I’ll definitely pass the tests!” replied Gerald confidently.
“Very well, then! Let the fourth test begin!” declared Torme with a nod as he changed the scene once more…
Once everything settled down, all that remained was a table that stood before Gerald… On it was a piece of paper, a pen, and three boxes…
Raising a slight brow, Gerald then walked over to the table to have a closer look…
The second he was close enough, Gerald quickly realized that the names ‘Rey’, ‘Juno’, and ‘Yrsa’ had been written on the three respective boxes…
Before Gerald could wonder what this test was about, Torme’s disembodied voice could suddenly be heard saying, “Out of the three names before you, you’ll need to choose one of them to die. Mind you, you’ll only obtain the key to open the large entrance of the Phangrottom Clan’s territory once you make your choice.”
Stunned, Gerald could only mutter, “…That…”
Gerald was naturally unwilling to choose any of his dear friends to die. Unsure how to even proceed with this, he was prompted to ask, “…Is this truly the only way I’ll be able to obtain the key to open the large entrance of the Phangrottom Clan’s territory…?”
“Indeed!” replied Torme without the slightest hesitation.
Upon hearing that, Gerald now realized that Torme wasn’t kidding when he said that the final two tests were exceedingly difficult…
“Just so you know, if you fail to choose anyone by the end of all this, you won’t be able to obtain that key…” added Torme, clearly taunting Gerald.
Feeling at a loss, Gerald then began pondering on his next step… Until suddenly, he realized that he had a fourth option.
“…Sir, I’d like to choose myself!” declared Gerald as he wrote his own name on the paper without any hesitation…
Gerald Crawford: The Secretly or invisible Rich Man Chapter 1849
Just as Gerald was bracing for death to hit him, he stared wide-eyed as his surroundings reverted to how they had previously been.
“Congratulations, Gerald! You’ve passed the fourth test!” declared Torme with a smile as he walked toward Gerald.
Surprised, Gerald couldn’t help but mutter, “I… passed the test…?”
“Indeed, you have!” replied Torme with a nod.
“Then… was self-sacrifice the answer to that test…?” asked the confused Gerald.
“Not really. Rather than testing your willingness to sacrifice yourself, it was a test to see whether you’d choose your desires over your friends’ lives. Now that I’ve seen that you’re clearly one who cares greatly for your comrades, I can safely say that you’ve passed this test!” explained Torme.
After hearing that, Gerald realized that had he chosen any other option, he would’ve surely failed the test! However, the even bigger shock came when Torme added, “Also, had you chosen any of your three friends earlier, they would have died for real! With that in mind, you’ve essentially saved their lives!”
So… If he had chosen any of his friends, they would have perished just like that…? The thought of it alone sent shivers down his spine…
“Regardless, you truly are the kindest and most powerful person I’ve met to date… Now, for the final test… Are you ready?” asked Torme.
Taking a deep breath, Gerald then replied, “Bring it on!”
Nodding in response, Torme then waved his hand… and in the blink of an eye, Gerald found himself standing within a bamboo forest.
Confused, Gerald was prompted to ask, “…And… This is…?”
“The bamboos in this forest are known as soul bamboo. You’ll pass the final test if you manage to break a few of them,” explained Torme.
Upon hearing that, Gerald couldn’t help but raise a brow. After all, bamboo in general was pretty easy to snap.
“Isn’t… the fifth test a little too easy…?” asked Gerald in a confident tone.
Chuckling in response, Torme then calmly replied, “Go ahead and do so, then!”
Hearing that, Gerald then stood before a soul bamboo… and after taking in a deep breath, he swung the side of his hand toward the bamboo in one fluid but powerful motion!
Though a loud collision sound was heard due to the immense force Gerald had applied, the soul bamboo barely moved an inch.
Naturally, this stunned Gerald. To think that he would be unable to snap the soul bamboo… No wonder Torme had been so calm!
“Hmm? Didn’t you say it was going to be easy…? All jokes aside, do understand that each soul bamboo hosts different meanings. Only after you understand the bamboo’s meaning and principles will you be able to break it. In a way, fortune plays a rather large part in this,” added Torme as he looked at Gerald with an interested gaze…
Quickly catching onto the hint that Torme had just given him, Gerald then replied, “Then… How should I access the meaning behind this soul bamboo?”
Gerald Crawford: The Secretly or invisible Rich Man Chapter 1850
Hearing Gerald’s question, Torme then explained, “You simply need to place your hand on the soul bamboo. Once you do, it’ll transmit its meaning into your mind. However, please remember to use your heart to feel it! Don’t ever be led astray!”
Immediately doing as Torme said, Gerald then placed his hand onto the bamboo… and all of a sudden, the soul bamboo began glowing in a light blue hue!
Gerald watched as the glow slowly enveloped his hand… and a split second later, the youth found himself standing within a white space.
Looking around, Gerald saw that aside from an old man—who was sitting cross-legged on the ground—and a Go board before that man, there was nothing else in this empty dimension…
While he was slightly stunned, Gerald quickly snapped out of it before walking over to the old man…
“Ah, here you are, mister! Come, have a seat!” invited the old man before Gerald could even say a word.
Upon hearing that, Gerald simply did as he was told.
Watching as Gerald sat opposite of him, the old man then said, “Since you’re already here, why not play a game with me?”
Nodding in response, Gerald simply replied, “It would be an honor to play with you, sir!”
Smiling, the old man chose not to say anything as he slowly waved his hand… and just like that, the Go board was cleared.
Seeing that, Gerald respectfully said, “After you, sir!”
Still choosing to remain silent, the old man simply grinned as a stone hovered out from the Go bowl and placed itself on the board!
While the magical scene definitely surprised Gerald, he quickly snapped out of it, knowing that it was now his turn.
Taking a black stone out from the Go bowl, Gerald then placed it on the board as well.
While it was true that Gerald had some experience with Go, it wasn’t a lot by any means. With that in mind, he wasn’t particularly good at the game. Even so, the game was an immersive one, and the duo continued putting stone after stone on the board… until eventually, Gerald’s defeat was sealed.
“Try not to get overly impatient or anxious, mister. You have to learn to understand the profound meaning of the game…,” said the old man.
Upon hearing that, Gerald could immediately tell that there was some underlying meaning behind those words. If what he had managed to gather was correct, in order to fully grasp the bamboo’s meaning, he first needed to understand the game inside out…
With that in mind, the second game soon commenced.
While Gerald was certainly no expert yet, he had improved considerably compared to the first game.
Gerald had realized that he had merely been on the defense throughout the first game. Due to that, he lacked the strength to counterattack at the last moment and was promptly defeated. In Torme’s words, he had been ‘led astray’.
Regardless, now that he knew where his mistake was, Gerald no longer remained on the defensive. Instead, he launched attack after attack! After a vigorous battle with the old man, however, Gerald still ended up losing.
“You’ve greatly improved from the last game, mister! Your success is near! I can feel it!” said the man before clearing the board again.
The second the third game began, Gerald took the initiative to attack. He wasn’t about to get led astray by the old man anymore. Instead, he was going to be the dominant one this time!
Since his Go game skills had greatly improved by this point, it honestly surprised even Gerald himself that the old man wasn’t able to launch any counterattacks.
Either way, after an even more vigorous battle than before, Gerald finally attained victory.
“Congratulations on gaining a complete understanding, mister! You may leave now!” said the old man after losing the game.
Surprised to hear that, Gerald was about to ask something when he realized that the old man and the go board had vanished!