Chapter 5: The Greenwoods

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Fantasy Realm

Reads: 9

Chapter 1 | Part 5

 

The Greenwoods

 

“My, my. What a rare sight,” Douglas Greenwood says.

Douglas Greenwood stands in an ash grey three piece suit with a white undershirt and grey tie. His monochrome hair is slicked back with gel and his body emanates a strong cologne. Oliver can sense a great deal of spiritual energy coming from the family patriarch. He is already at the peak of the ancestral step. This is Oliver’s first time meeting someone with similar strength to his current self. If only he could tap into the wellspring of power still unable to attach to his current body. This meeting makes Oliver realize that he needs to work on tempering his body sooner than later.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Sir Greenwood,” Oliver says with a bow. “My name’s Oliver Reed. It’s by chance that I met Susan and she asked me to come here. I hope that I’m not intruding.”

Douglas laughs and replies, “Nonsense. I would’ve been more upset if Susan met a young man like yourself and didn’t invite you. Now come, let’s get something for lunch, yeah? I’ve had the chef make some artisan sandwiches.”

Oliver looks to Susan, who simply smiles, then Oliver nods his head and heads towards Douglas. They all walk to the dining room, which does not seem to be connected to the kitchen at all, and inside the dining room is another girl as well as an older woman. Douglas heads to the seat at the far end of the table. Susan follows behind Oliver as he sits on Douglas’s right and across from the girl, who seems to be around Oliver’s age, as well as the older woman, who Douglas kisses before taking his seat.

“Marianne, Suzy, this is Susan’s friend Oliver. Oliver, this is my wife Marianne and my youngest daughter Suzy. Suzy’s currently attending North High University,” Douglas says. He looks at Oliver and asks, “So, Grandmaster Reed, you’re still quite young. Do you attend college? Or are you living a life in seclusion with some Master cultivator?”

Oliver can feel the eagerness in Douglas’s voice.

“No, I haven’t spent any time in seclusion, and yes, I’m a college student. In fact, I go to North High with your daughter. Suzy, right? I’ve never been formally introduced, but we’re taking two courses together.”

Suzy looks surprised and replies, “Really? I never noticed anyone as outstanding as yourself.”

Oliver chuckles and replies, “I try to keep a low profile, I guess.”

“What classes do you two share?” Susan asks.

“Intro to phycology and intro to sociology,” Oliver bluntly answers.

Marianne and Douglas both look to their daughter, but she simply hangs her head in shame for not having noticed Oliver. Oliver takes a moment to look at and respect the fact that every member of this family has experienced cultivating. The more interesting part is that Suzy has a stronger spirit than Susan, and they are around fifteen years different in age.

“Is something the matter?” Douglas asks.

Suzy looks over and realizes Oliver’s golden eyes glaring at her. Her face turns red.

“Oh? Has my little Suzy caught the grandmaster’s attention?” Marianne laughs.

Oliver waves his hand and replies, “No, no. It’s not that. Yes, Suzy’s very pretty, but until now I never realized how strong her spiritual energy was. It’s quite surprising.”

“Ha! It’s funny to hear that from someone who’s the same age and already surpassing me,” Douglas retorts. His tone settles and he looks at Suzy for a moment. In fact, everyone at the table looks at Suzy, then Douglas finally asks, “Sorry, Grandmaster Reed. I heard from my father that only other grandmasters can see the spiritual energy of another person. Is it true? Is Suzy really that well off?”

Suzy looks up and admits, “It can’t be. I don’t practice. Only when I was little, but not since.”

Oliver swiftly replies, “Then I’m even more surprised. You managed to cultivate to the peak of basic cultivation when you were messing around as a child. You’d have been around your dad’s stage if you kept at it.”

This announcement brings silence to the room.

“Seriously?” Susan asks.

“That can’t be right. Then what’s Susan’s level?” Marianne asks.

“Susan’s just over midway through the basic cultivation realm. Actually, ma’am, you’re not too bad either. You’re at the same level as Suzy,” Oliver praises.

Suddenly the door to the dining room opens and an elderly man with even stronger spiritual power enters with two young martial artists. The elderly man has long grey hair and a long beard. He walks upright with his arms folded behind his back and golden eyes glowing from the sunken sockets on his head. The young man on the left wears camouflaged pants and a grey shirt under a flak jacket. The girl beside him, whose face looks very similar to the young man’s, she also wears camouflaged pants and a grey shirt, but the shirt is hidden under a black leather coat.

“Father!” Douglas says with joy before standing from his seat.

“Grandpa? No one told me you were coming,” Suzy says.

Douglas walks over to give his father a hug along with Susan and Suzy. Oliver stands behind his seat and looks to the two young bodyguards who stare daggers into his direction. The young man is at the peak of the ancestral step, and the young girl is almost at the peak herself. The old man however, he is at the first layer of the mid-high realm. Oliver cannot sense anything symbolizing cultivation since he reached this step. According to what Oliver knows about this world, the martial arts community does not understand the true scope of cultivation. Reaching this elder’s stage is already considered an amazing feat.

“And you must be the Grandmaster I was told about,” the man says. “It’s an odd day. I never thought I’d actually meet a man your age with such astonishing strength. Look how dense your aura is. Ah! Sorry for the late introduction. I’m Samuel Greenwood,” he says with an extended hand. Oliver steps forward and reciprocates the gesture. Suddenly a wave of spiritual energy surges from Oliver into Samuel and Samuel’s eyes widen. He looks to a boundless amount of spiritual pressure that was otherwise hidden until this point. He releases Oliver’s hand and slowly bows on his knees before saying, “Are you a god? I’ve never seen such strong power!”

“Master!” the young lady yells. She hurries to his side and helps him back to his feet.

Oliver smiles and asks, “So you can see my spirit?”

All eyes focus on Oliver as Samuel replies, “Only for the moment our hands came into contact with each other. And here I thought I’d found an equal. I never thought I’d meet someone far exceeding my meager strength. Please, Grandmaster Reed. Won’t you take my granddaughters as your disciples?”

“What? Master, aren’t you teaching them?” the young man asks.

“Yeah. Perhaps you saw wrong,” the girl adds.

Samuel shakes his head and replies, “I saw true. This man’s strength is far exceeding what you or I would call a grandmaster. I’m not even sure there’s a term for what this boy is. Perhaps calling him a god isn’t too far from reality. Young man. Would it be too presumptuous to ask for a spar?”

“Grandfather!? Oliver just got here and we were going to eat,” Susan quickly interrupts.

“That’s right, Samuel. If you want to fight with our guest then can it at least wait until afterwards?” Marianne asks.

Oliver bows his head to Samuel, then replies, “As you’ve heard. After our meal I’ll accompany you for a friendly match.”

“Thank you for placating this old man,” Samuel says. “By the way. These two are my disciples. This here is Kirstin, and the young man’s Max.”

“Brother and sister disciples. Very interesting,” Oliver replies.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Grandmaster Reed,” Max says, then his sister follows.

Right after the introduction the secondary door behind everyone opens and waiting staff enter with steel carts carrying plates of food. Everyone calms down and returns to the table to eat. Oliver moved over a seat so Douglas could sit next to him, whereas Samuel now sits at the head of the table. Kirstin and Max sit to the right of Susan as everyone indulges in their food. The meal is simple but very tasty. However, Oliver cannot believe that meals in this world are only just about as good as the meals from his past life. Comparatively, earth is far superior in terms of technology, and yet the strength of the people, the gaudy lifestyles, as well as the differences in family meals are quite lower. A part of Oliver wishes to return to his past life, but the thought of being betrayed by his own wife leaves a sour taste in his mouth.

“Grandmaster Reed. Did you like the food?” Douglas asks.

“Please, I just want everyone to call me Oliver. I feel weird when everyone keeps calling me grandmaster,” Oliver says. “The food was great. Hard to believe that you even have a personal chef to make you fresh baked bread. We live completely different lives, that’s for sure.”

Oliver did not mean for his words to come across as an insult, but none of the Greenwoods can properly reply. Even Suzy who’s around the same age feels embarrassed now, but the tension quickly drops when the waiters return for their plates.

“Sorry if I offended you,” Oliver apologizes.

“No. You’re right. When you’re young you want to live big and make a lot of money,” Samuel says. “But only now that I’m older am I realizing that money is nice, but there’s no amount of money that can prolong one’s life. Only after I broke through to grandmaster did my health improve. Hard to believe I’m in my nineties and still feel as healthy as ever. That’s why many of us older folk are taking to this life style.”

Oliver smiles and replies, “I understand.” Oliver thinks back to his former Master when he was still living as Michael. As the old lady’s face flashes through his mind he happily says, “My Master’s already over three-hundred years old and still looks young. The higher you advance as a cultivator is the same as advancing your own life.”

“Did you say your master’s over three-hundred years old? Are you being serious?” Susan asks.

“I wouldn’t lie. She’s not very famous here, but she’s very powerful,” Oliver replies.

“If I’d have known you could live that long I’d have taken my studies more seriously,” Douglas says. “Too late now. I’m too old for regretting.”

Oliver shakes his head and promptly replies, “You’re not too old. It’s just that you’re techniques are severely lacking. I’m sure Samuel’s already aware, but Douglas, you’re about to break through to the same level as your father. If you had my cultivation techniques you’d reach my level in just a couple of years.”

“Do you really mean that!?” Samuel unintentionally hits the table.

“Of course, but I’m forbidden from sharing my technique to outsiders,” Oliver says.

“I see. That makes sense. It’s the same with every martial family,” Samuel replies. He waves his hand towards both sides of the table and asks, “Then what about disciples? I truly meant it earlier when I asked if you’d take my granddaughters under your wing. Would you be able to teach them?”

Oliver lowers his gaze. Suzy is a bit uncomfortable, and Susan a little upset by her grandfather making decisions for her. This is the way rich families work in this world. The eldest of the family, or patriarchs make the ultimate decision for the younger generations. Susan and Suzy may have opposing opinions on the matter, but both remain quiet out of respect and filial piety.

“I’m a bit busy, and it’d be hard taking on disciples right now when I’ve three siblings to raise,” Oliver honestly replies. This statement draws some questioning looks towards the young man. He goes on to say, “I’m sorry, but I don’t think I could manage school, my siblings, and coming here every day for training. I’ve also been looking at getting into the martial arts scene a bit more.”

“I see. I didn’t realize a young man such as yourself was raising some younglings,” Samuel says. “But I don’t want this matter to die just because of distance constraints. Would you mind me talking more about this at a later date?”

Oliver shrugs his shoulders and says, “Sure. Aside from that, did you still want to spar? I could use the exercise after a meal.”

“Well then, I’ll be going back to my room,” Suzy says standing from the table. “It was nice meeting you Oliver, or well, I guess properly meeting you is more accurate. I’ll see you in class?”

Oliver nods his head and smiles.

“I got to go too. I’m meeting some friends to do some shopping,” Marianne says.

“How about you two?” Samuel asks looking between Susan and Douglas.

“Of course I want to see this young man’s strength,” Douglas says.

“Me too. Who knows? Oliver might end up as my Master. I’d like to see him in action,” Susan giggles.

Samuel pushes back his chair from the table and stands tall to his feet. After clapping his hands he says, “Then let’s head to the back yard. As the old saying goes, the power between clashing grandmasters can shake the earth, and the destruction can ruin the houses of many. After seeing Oliver’s aura I’m positive I can’t win, but I’m also sure that I won’t make it easy either.”

“We’ll see,” Oliver softly replies.

Douglas takes the lead with Kirstin, Max, and Samuel following behind. Susan waits for Oliver as he takes his time to check his phone for messages. After a moment he follows Susan out of the dining room and out the back door of the mansion. The backyard is very spacious. A large wooden patio with plenty furniture pieces for dozens of guests. The yard between the patio and the pond out back is roughly an acre in and of itself. Samuel dismisses Kirstin and Max to remain on the patio along with Douglas and Susan. Oliver waves goodbye to Susan and heads off the porch into the yard. Oliver spaces himself out from Samuel. He leaves about twenty paces between himself and the old Greenwood.

“How do you want to go about this?” Oliver asks. “I’d rather not hurt you too much.”

Samuel laughs and replies, “If anyone else would’ve said that I’d have beat them and their parents, but as for you, I’m sure you’re just being considerate.” He strokes his beard and smiles before saying, “Alright. How about this. I’ll use all the power I have to push you back, and you use whatever power you want to push me back. Whoever moves first wins. Sound good?”

Oliver nods in agreement.

“Do you really think the kid can win against Master?” Kirstin asks.

Susan looks to her grandfather’s disciple and says, “If you saw him move in the park earlier you’d have been as dumbfounded as me. Even grandpa acknowledged Oliver’s power.”

“Hmm,” Douglas hums. “If he’s truly that strong then I’d love for him to get closer with our family. Maybe arranging a marriage between Suzy and him would be a good idea?”

“Dad. You can’t be serious. You didn’t even make me marry,” Susan grumbles.

Douglas looks to Susan and replies, “That’s because you were too busy learning to take over the family’s business. Your sister’s a bit different. I’m leaving everything to you, and only some money for Suzy. This guy just appeared out of nowhere, and I’m sure he’ll make a big splash in the underworld.”

“Well, I guess it’s not such a bad idea,” Susan grumbles.

All attention focuses on Samuel and Oliver as old Greenwood makes his first move. He lets out a loud groan as the ground begins to shake. Releasing his spiritual energy allows for even those without spiritual sense to see his aura. A fine shade of blue wafts from his body like a storming bonfire. However, a loud boom takes all attention to Oliver as a gust of wind smacks against the bystanders. The earth shakes and the air becomes heavy. A thick stream of rainbow light flies high over Oliver. The difference in aura is like night and day. Even Samuel smiles after finally seeing him release his spiritual pressure.

“Damn! You’re definitely a monster!” Samuel laughs. “I might concede just to save some face.”

Oliver smiles as he waves his hand through the air. A visible riptide of wind carried with teal spiritual energy hurdles towards Samuel, but Samuel is quick to thrust his fist outwards with a returning gust of wind. A gust in the shape of a fist crashes into Oliver’s power and splits the riptide in half, but the remaining wind still speeds past Samuel and forces many distant trees to bend.

“Is this even considered martial arts?” Susan asks.

“Yeah? I’m not sure normal martial artists would consider fighting with wind,” Douglas jokes.

“This is the first time in a while that I’ve seen Master use his finishing technique,” Max says.

“And it was just to block Oliver waking his hand,” Kirstin adds.

Kirstin and Max look towards one another with shaking gazes.

Oliver nods and says, “I guess I just add a little more oomph to my attack, huh?”

“Well, just don’t kill this old man,” Samuel replies.

Oliver gently thrusts his fist forward as if playfully tapping a friend on one’s shoulder, but this playful thrust mixed with wind energy and his spiritual energy is horrifying. A gale of wind shaped like a fist speeds towards Samuel. Old Greenwood hurries to chop the air—using all of his body and momentum with the fore. The chop sends a line of wind splitting the ground and hitting the gale of wind, but the chop shatters and Samuel can only block his face as Oliver’s attack slams into his chest. He is picked up by the wind and sent flying.

“Grandpa!”

“Master!”

“What the hell?” Douglas groans. Oliver somehow appeared behind Samuel without anyone noticing and not only broke his own attack, but saved Samuel from being sent into the woods. Douglas’s jaw is left agape for a few seconds before saying, “I see what you meant by how fast the boy moves. I was watching dad being carried by the wind, I blinked, and then Oliver was just there. What the hell kind of speed is that?”

Susan breathes a sigh of relief and says, “I’m just happy it was a spar and not a duel. I’m not sure Oliver would’ve been that kind if they were actually dueling.”

“Truly. What a terrifying kid. I’m heading inside first,” Douglas says.

“Okay,” Susan replies with slight confusion.

Douglas looks to his daughter and says, “It’s nothing big. I just want to find a place for you and Suzy to stay. Somewhere close to where the boy lives.”

“Do you even know where he lives?” Susan asks.

“Hey. Who do you think I am,” Douglas laughs. His expression becomes more serious as he says, “In all seriousness. I want you and Suzy to learn from the boy. As long as he allows, I want you to truly take him as your Master. It’s already too late for me and your grandfather to learn from him, but it seems he’d be open to teaching you and Suzy. This boy, I really need to think of a way to bring him closer to the family.”

Douglas goes on talking to himself as he walks back into the house. Samuel and Oliver return to the patio where Kirstin and Max bow out of respect for Oliver’s strength. Susan smiles and welcomes Oliver’s return. They all sit on the back patio talking for quite some time about family affairs on both sides of the fence. Susan even talks a bit about her job and offers to take Oliver in as an intern.

“I can’t rely on a friend for work,” Oliver replies.

“Then how about this,” Samuel says. “From what Susan said, my boy’s inside looking for some property closer to you so you can spend time training my grandkids. I don’t see why you should do it out of just goodwill and favors. How about I pay you for teaching them?”

Oliver looks at Samuel and replies, “That doesn’t sound bad. That is if you’re really willing to pay.”

Samuel laughs and smacks the table before yelling, “Then it’s settled! We’ll hold the official ceremony after we get the kids a place to stay. Grandmaster Reed, if you please let me call you this.” Samuel stands from the table and bows deeply before saying, “Please teach and protect my granddaughters from now on!”

Oliver politely replies, “Of course. No need to be so formal. Well, I really should get going. I’ve been here for quite a bit already. I promised to bring my siblings out to eat tonight.”

“Really? So soon?” Susan asks. She stands from her seat and says, “Alright. I’ll go get the car.”

Oliver stands from his chair and bids farewell to everyone at the Greenwood mansion. He leaves with Susan in the same blue sports car. The Greenwood estate is quite the distance from Oliver’s home, but the road is all the same. One long winding road leads around a mountain and opens up to the same area of residential homes where Oliver lives. Oliver points out his house to Susan, bids farewell, and then returns inside where Jessie, Lulu, and Lucas are politely sitting on the living room couch.

“I’m back. You guys ready to go eat?” Oliver asks.

A cheerful stream of yesses brings a smile to Oliver’s face. This is his first time having siblings. He was an only child in his last life, but this feeling of being relied upon is nothing new. Having younger children to protect comes with being a King as well as a father. Oliver walks behind his cheering siblings as they walk their way into town for a pleasant evening.


Submitted: November 22, 2020

© Copyright 2020 KainZero. All rights reserved.

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