"Perhaps, but he's still different from me in the end. He can't do anything without talent..." the old man said sullenly as he lowered his head.
"Stop being foolish, Gregor. Give the book to me, only I can keep it safe now." The old lady slowly reached out her hand toward the old man.
Old Man Gregor held his head down and did not say anything for a while.
"Influence, wealth, reputation. In the end there’s nothing more dependable than your own ability. Gregor, you've fallen." There was a trace of pity in the old lady's eyes. "Time flies; in the blink of an eye, we're already at this age. And you, who had made the wrong choice, no longer have the right to safeguard it."
Garen was ambling down Pennington Street -- while looking back in the direction of the antique store from time to time -- when he saw the old man covertly closing the store's entrance.
"Good lord! That old woman still hasn't come out, right?" He was stunned. "They're still so bold at their age? They couldn’t even wait until nightfall... As expected of the vulgar old man..."
Shaking his head, his mind suddenly conjured a juicy story between the old couple, and goosebumps immediately appeared all over his body.
"They were making eyes at each other back at the store too, but I didn't think that they were so impatient that they would immediately start after I left. It seems that the elderly have such needs as well..."
He ambled along the street with his hands in his pockets. As he watched the ongoing stream of carriages and automobiles, he continued along a small distance until he reached a black sedan and entered the vehicle.
Grace was sitting in the driver's seat with one hand on the steering wheel and the other holding a paper-wrapped sandwich. She was eating voraciously; there was no sign of the "cold lady" image she should have.
While eating, she asked, "Where are we going?"
"Home. We need to find a way to earn money as well. Grace, do you have any connections?"
Grace thought for a while and then replied, "I have some, but it would depend on whether you're willing."
"Tell me. I haven't used that check you gave me yet. I can invest using that."
"The money isn't mine: I took it out of the company's accounts. It's rather appropriate to use as your capital." Grace nodded. "What's your motive? Are you aiming to start a career or just to earn money?"
"It's best to just earn money. Of course, the source should be clean."
"That's simple then. The most suitable method would be tutoring using the dojo's name. Of course, it depends on your master's reputation. You could ask your seniors to introduce tutoring work to you as well. With your identity, you should be able to easily earn a large sum of money," Grace explained.
"Oh, that might work. However, I haven't even mastered it myself, let alone being able to teach others. Are there any other methods?"
"There’s also Miss Felicity; she started her own auction company. Aren’t you trying to earn money to collect antiques? You can just cooperate with her. Lastly, you could work with my company. My company can pay you a considerable sum every month. It's just that you might be called up to solve any... problem.. that arises."
"There's no need to hurry, let me think about it." Garen knitted his eyebrows. The three methods did not meet his requirements, especially when he found out that Dale Quicksilver was actually collecting similar antiques. He was slightly tempted.
"It would be great if I could make contact with Dale Quicksilver and look at his collection. The problem is, what kind of excuse could I use to contact him?"
He looked toward Grace.
"Do you have a method to contact Dale Quicksilver? I want to take a look at his collection of antiques, but I need a reason to do so."
"That's simple. If you tell him that you have some antiques and would like to show and e
xchange some of your collections with him, he probably wouldn't refuse if you use our company's name. Do you need me to make preparations immediately? It's just that you will need to put on makeup first. You’re still too young, after all," Grace swiftly replied. "As for the antique needed for the exchange, my company will arrange it."
"Arrange it, see if he agrees."
In the next few days, Garen traveled back and forth between the school and the antique shop, behaving completely like an ordinary student.
However, as the effect of the emblem had become almost negligible, he could only obediently learn martial arts every day from his seniors. White Cloud Combat Arts were moves developed from the Mammoth Secret Technique; its four forms were interchangeable and abnormally powerful. Garen spent every day practicing the moves with his seniors while suppressing his own strength.
For the past few days, he did not attend classes even when he was at school. He was only waiting for the end of term results to be announced.
"How did you fare?" Fayne and Kalidor gathered together to check each other's result.
"Alright, I’m twentieth in the class, it's not that bad." Kalidor grinned.
"How can you even be happy with twentieth place, there are barely even twenty people in our class..." Garen jokingly scolded as he walked over with papers in his hand. "I messed up my foreign language paper. There's no hope for me: I just answered randomly."
Kalidor looked at Garen's foreign language paper: 20 marks were clearly drawn on it.
"Impressive!" Kalidor gave Garen a thumbs up. "Oh and let's go to the White Eagle Saloon later. They just imported a batch of purple grape wine! I made the owner keep a bottle for me."
"I am not going, you guys can go. I have something else i need to do," Garen declined.
"Again? You've been refusing to hang out with us for quite a while now. Just what exactly are you so busy with all day?" Kalidor was slightly unhappy.
"I really have something to do." Garen helplessly shrugged his shoulders.
Ever since Kalidor and Ai Fei got together, the gap between Kalidor and Garen grew larger and the group was not as harmonious as before. Even though the two of them intended to mend the gap, the incident with Ai Fei was like a thorn between them that could not be removed.
Both Fayne and Jake noticed it and tried persuading Kalidor to forget about it. Little did they expect that after Kalidor became enamored by Ai Fei, even the two of them were both left by the wayside.
"Alright, if you really have something going on, then forget it. It's just as well, now I can go out with my girlfriend: I only have the first few days of this vacation to play around. My father will probably force me to help him out the rest of the time," Fayne continued.
Kalidor's expression only slightly improved after his two friends’ persuasion, but he still angrily left.
Garen could not do anything about it as well.
"Garen, are you going to the dojo?"
"No, I’ve stopped going to the dojo for now. I'll be staying at home this vacation. It's another matter." Garen no longer needed to go to the dojo on a daily basis. He had learned everything he could; he only needed to practice on his own.
After the matter with Grace was settled, his life seemed to have completely returned to normal.
After chatting with his friends for a while, Garen checked the time. When he realized that it was almost time to leave, he slowly walked out of the school.
There was a line of carriages and automobiles queueing outside the school to pick up students. From time to time, a vehicle would hurriedly arrive and leave shortly after. Garen slowly walked toward a black sedan and entered it.
"The arrangements are ready," Grace softly said from the driver's seat. "Dale Quicksilver has agreed to our request. The meeting will occur at his temporary residence in the suburbs."
"Where is it?"
"Canoe Town? Is there a place nearby called Silversilk Castle?" Garen was slightly surprised.
"Silversilk Castle?" Grace slightly hesitated. "It seems like it... I've never been there before, but Dale Quicksilver seems to be quite interested in that place. He's currently resting over there."
"Is his case solved?"
"It's not completely resolved. He only found half of the antiques that the Golden Hoop stole. The rest were sold through various channels. Our company was only one of the channels used. I am sure you know about that."
"That's true." Garen knew the company behind Grace, the Manuyllton Corporation, was the biggest antique reseller in Huaishan. "How far is the place from here? How long would it take?"
"We'll first go to another place to pick up somebody to help you put on your makeup. Then we'll go to Canoe Town to meet Dale Quicksilver. The meeting time is around 3 p.m."
"It's only 11 a.m. right now, there's still time." Garen nodded.
He had always wanted to go to Silversilk Castle to check out the source of the Bronze Cross Emblem and see what was special about it. As the strangest and longest-lasting Potential Antique, Garen had wanted to find out the secret behind it. He did not think that Dale Quicksilver would actually be investigating the matter as well.
"From the looks of it, it's not a coincidence. He's collecting Potential Antiques and is even deliberately staying around Silversilk Castle. It would be strange if it's only a coincidence."
Garen turned his head to the window and looked outside. With a roar of the engine, the vehicle started to gradually move forward. He could see groups of students on both sides of the road entering and leaving stores. The girls were dressed in short skirts and black stockings; most of them were youthful and charming. The boys were dressed in shirts with long pants and leather shoes; they were lively and slightly charismatic even if their looks were ordinary.
This was a special aura that only Shengying Academy had; it was not possible for ordinary schools to possess it. Even the clothes that they wore were not affordable for ordinary students.
There was more than one academy within Huaishan City. There were a few high schools and Shengying was the best among them. It was not just due to having a spectacular score while enrolling annually l -- the environment, the quality of the students, and other various aspects all mattered as well.
As Garen watched the students from the window, he suddenly remembered his young sister, Ying Er, who had been obediently staying at home for the past few days,
In regard to the matter of acknowledging his master -- after he told his parents about it -- they personally visited his master's residence to make up for their previous absence.
Garen's parents were simple people. They did not understand the actual status and power of Fei Baiyun. They were only surprised by the seriousness of the whole situation. Fei Baiyun's residence was not extravagant either. Instead, the furnishing was quite simple.
His sister, Ying Er, also knew that he acknowledged Fei Baiyun as his master but she did not know about the details. After she found out about the entire process, she understood that it was a formal ceremony and it changed her opinion about him. However, for some reason, her recent relationship with Garen became even colder.
Clearing his mind, Garen laid back on his seat and glanced downward toward his Skills in the attribute pane.
"Right now, I am only lacking in actual combat skills. It would be great if I still have any Attribute points. At least then I could just rapidly raise my White Cloud Combat Arts, which would help save a lot of time and energy. I only wish that meeting Dale Quicksilver this time would give me some sort of reward..."