Chapter 9: Choice and Abandonment
Jackson arrived at the front entrance, coincidentally meeting Peter.
“Jackson, what’s wrong?” Peter’s head tilted sideways as he prodded. He had sensed something was off upon seeing his friend’s current appearance.
“Oh… it’s nothing.” Jackson bitterly smiled and pulled off the mask, heaving a sigh of relief thereafter. He hadn’t bothered to hide his bruises in school. His mother’s not here and he’d stand out looking like a fool. “Let’s go to class.”
“Are you going out at night being a vigilante?”
“You’re right. I’m a good student by day but by night, I beat up bad guys.” Jackson turned towards Peter, responding sincerely.
“I don’t know about being a night hero but I know for sure that you aren’t a good student during the day! Have you forgotten that you slept all day yesterday?” Peter chuckled and foolishly grinned.
“Being a hero is just too tiring! Cut me some slack!” Jackson helplessly explained. If only Peter had known what he said was close to the truth.
“Well, hero, today you don’t want to fall asleep again in class. Simons wasn’t too happy with you yesterday.” Harry pulled up from behind, kindly reminding Jackson.
“Yeah, I know.” Jackson said bitterly.
“Cheer up!” Tom slapped Jackson’s back.
The four chatted briefly amongst each other while heading towards the classroom.
Arriving just in time before the bell rang, the four quickly walked to their seats and sat down. Tom sat nearby Jackson as he’d done before. He seemed to have some things nagging the back of his mind time to time as his eyes floated towards his childhood friend.
Jackson who had an acute sense of awareness and perception spotted Tom’s wandering eyes. He tried to ignore such small matter but after a few minutes, Jackson lost his patience. He teared a piece of paper and wrote on it before handing it to Tom.
What do you want? Why do you keep looking?
Stunned and surprise, Tom quickly a replied back. He timed when to give the note to Jackson when the teacher’s attention was not on them.
After school, Gwen came over and hung out with us. I think Peter and Harry are interested in her.
Seeing the written note, Jackson’s eyes glinted, his brows furrowed vaguely. This was to be expected. He had hoped to see his two friends fall for the same girl as originally planned
“But I can’t get involved with the current situation. Whatever happens is up to them.”
Jackson shook his head lightly.
Sensing that Jackson was lost in his own world, Tom gritted his teeth and handed another written note, softly slamming it on Jackson’s table.
I thought you liked Gwen?! What happened with that? It’s like nothing ever happened!
Quickly returning to reality, Jackson responded immediately.
Gwen’s only a friend. If Peter and Harry likes her, I won’t intervene.
Tom grew quiet after seeing Jackson’s answer. Although friends with Peter and Harry, if Jackson truly liked Gwen, Tom would certainly bend over backwards to help his childhood friend, risking his newfound relationship with Peter and Harry.
“But as the situation right now develops to its original path, Gwen will end up choosing Peter for sure. Becoming Spider-Man, he’ll gain some
confidence and capabilities. Although Harry has the slight advantage right now, he can’t beat Peter the moment he becomes Spider-Man.”
Jackson could not help but think of the love triangle after Tom reminded him.
“Who said that it’s destined to be like this?” As Jackson felt some sort of regrets and pity for Harry, the System appeared without warning.
“Eh? Is there any sort of changes happening? Don’t say that you’re going to give me more weird missions like destroying their relationships by using Gwen.” Hearing the System’s chiding, Jackson asked, somewhat vexed to a slight extent.
“Nothing like that. But haven’t you accepted a mission earlier? Have you already forgotten so soon?” The System’s calm figure reminded him.
“What mission? Didn’t I already complete it last night?”
“The mission with a 50,000 reward points. Have you really forgotten so fast or do you think you can simply ignore it?” The System scolded.
“That mission?! I already chose to become a superhero. Why is there still a mission to destroy Peter and Harry? That’d go against the foundation of who a superhero is.” Baffled, sometimes he could not understand the System’s line of thought.
Destroying the relationship of his two good friends, isn’t that the way of a super villain? How can a superhero do such a thing? Jackson believed the moment he chose the path of a superhero that the mission would disappear naturally.
“You’re misunderstanding some things. The mission from last night and the mission from before that are irrelevant. Breaking Peter and Harry’s thread of friendship and you becoming a superhero has no effect at all. Tell me, does Peter and Harry’s relationship prevent you from becoming a superhero?”
“But you don’t want to continue this mission anymore, am I right?”
“Nn.” Jackson answered honestly. “Peter and Harry treat me really well and they think of me as their own friend. Doing that to them… I can’t do it.”
Jackson’s compassion and other characteristics can be seen from him choosing the path of a superhero. He’s the sort of person who’d rather himself suffer than those close to him; the sort of person willing to bear the pain of others.
And when the System assigned him the missions from before, he was tempted. The only reason he accepted the 50,000 reward points mission was because he wasn’t close to Peter or Harry and the reward points itself provided him endless riches, the ability to buy all sorts of things he longed for in the vault.
But it’s different now.
Now he’s friends with those two and such thoughts of continuing the mission dropped.
“That is yours to decide but now is the best time to complete the mission. If you really don’t want the 50,000 bonus points, you’ll have to wait till the time limit ends to judge your failure to do so but remember, the mission is still active until it ends. You still have a chance.” Although the System did not rebuke Jackson’s feelings, it ended with hints of psychological temptation with hopes he’d change his mind.
“I won’t do that.” Jackson had completely given up on the mission, on the 50,000 reward points. In this regards, he felt more clear, more confident, and had the conscious to willingly accept Peter and Harry’s kindness without guilt creeping on the back of his mind.
… … …
Days passed quickly and thus far, Jackson had no missions assigned to him and Tom had not come bother him as he usually would these past few days.
“System, you said that I have many reward points now. Should I buy something?” Lying in bed, Jackson looked over the items stored in the vault.
“Why do you need to? You already have enough rewards given to you and haven’t you gotten what you wanted already? Otherwise the things you purchase will cost a lot. You might regret.”
“The reward points you’ve given me in the past was too little to begin with and I was only able to buy low cost things. But since I’m a little rich now, it’s only normal for me to think about it. Right, do you think the item I want to redeem will be sufficient?”
“You mean the blood of a Titan that you’ve been expecting to get?”
“Yes! The blood of the immortal. This is the world of Marvel where the strong reign and the weak are preyed upon so I’d like to exchange my points for the blood of a Titan. If I take that, won’t I be strong?” His body boiled in excitement.
“Your line of thinking is correct but the Titans in the Marvel world are not the same Titans from the Greek mythology that you’re thinking of. But it doesn’t matter that you have the Titan’s blood. It’s dangerous and it’s not that simple to gain the power of a Titan.”
Jackson’s heart clenched. “What do you mean?”
“Because you’re current level is relatively low. I can’t tell you too much but I can tell that your ideas are not correct. And if you want the blood of a Titan, I’m afraid you’ll have to pay more than just reward points. The blood of a Titan is powerful indeed and can alter the appearance of a human to something more animalistic. If you’re not strong enough, you’ll experience excruciating pain before dying.” The System rarely explained things to Jackson. He only knew an issue was important when the System chose to elaborate on a matter.
“Have I misunderstood some things then? Are there other bloodlines in the world? If not, don’t tell me I can’t use the blood of a Titan? I won’t even be a human being? Tch. This is really boring.” Jackson sighed pitifully. He dreamed of changing his bloodline step by step with means to grow stronger but it was cruelly shut down long before it began.
“Although there are other bloodlines available that won’t change your appearance as human being, I don’t think it’s suitable for you. Once you’ve chosen a bloodline, it’s quite difficult to change it. If you’re caught in a predicament by an enemy in the future, you’ll be restrained by the bloodline you chose.” The System explained, fully understanding current thoughts.
“Then… what do you think is the best for me? In this world, the filthy rich rely on the use of science and technology while the poor rely on bloodline or genetic mutation. Although I’m not poor, I’m not rich enough to use the advantages the high-tech world has to offer in order to enhance my strength. Other than choosing powerful bloodlines, what else can I do?” His heart was troubled. The System denied him of the path he wished to tread upon.
The world Jackson lived in were filled with filthy rich men and women alike who had no natural powers rely on the use of high-tech and science whereas the poor rely on genetic mutations or bloodlines.
Peter Parker belonged to the latter. If not for the lucky encounter and mutation in his genetics, he would not be the Spider-Man who holds great power and responsibility.
As for Harry Osborn, the young master of the Osborn Industries, he had the financial, science, and technological backings behind him to enhance his strength and potential. His two good friends were a perfect example of the makings of heroes and villains in this world.
“I agree. You’re not rich and changing of genetics or bloodlines is indeed a faster method but with me around, you don’t really have to worry about anything. Haven’t you found any noticeable changes in your body in the past two days?”
“Change? Of course. I’ve gotten a bit stronger. I’ve practiced the Middle Grade Fighting Essentials to its fullness and I’m beginning to grow more adept in Soaring Dragon Method after some practices. The strength should be at least three to four times stronger than before.” He said gloomily but a second thereafter, Jackson’s eyes widened.” Wait… you mean… it’s not necessary for me to enhance myself with bloodline or genetic mutation but through my fighting skills? You want me to advance my skills?” Jackson replied sincerely, realizing the System’s intent.
The System was right. Though leveling his skill was more difficult and arduous than the use of bloodlines or genetic mutations, leveling his own skills to the highest guaranteed him victory.
“This is just my suggestion.”
“I’ll listen to you first.” Jackson nodded, accepting the System’s suggestion. “In my past life, I practiced martial arts really well.”