During the entire exchange, Jackie never lost his composure as he merely stood behind them quietly. Even if he heard some of the things they have said, he barely reacted to them. It was as if they were not talking about him at all.
Claude and Benedict, on the other hand, could not contain how pleased they felt. After being pulled over, they managed to hear some of the conversations despite Elder Maurice trying his best to lower his volume. Of course, they knew why Elder Maurice was so visibly irked.
Claude smirked as he looked at Jackie, the nuisance he was. If it was anyone else, Elder Maurice would not have been so angry, and the matter would not be in such a mess.
The moment he thought back to how arrogant Jackie was in the vessel, Claude felt a build-up of fury within him. Jackie ought to know to choose his battles; whom he could offend and could not.
He raised an eyebrow as he deliberately leaned toward Jackie, whispering so none could hear him, “Do you hear that? Elder Maurice is furious thanks to you. Someone like you will only drag us down in this tournament.”
Jackie pursed his lips in exasperation. Normally, he would ignore whatever people were saying, but Claude was like an annoying fly in his ears that would buzz to his ear, annoying him to no end.
He looked at Claude and lowly retorted, “Have you conveniently forgotten everything I have said before? You’ve never seen me in action before, so why are you setting that judgment on me already? You think I’ll drag you down? I think you’re just trash.”
Jackie might have lowered his voice when he said that, but he was not as afraid of others hearing him as Claude was. Both Elder Maurice and Mr. Zayne had heard parts of it, even when they stood in front of them.
The two of them turned to look at Jackie at the same time, but Jackie’s expression did not change at all when he felt their eyes on him-still calm as usual. Meanwhile, Claude’s face had turned purple from Jackie’s words, and he was so angry that both his fists trembled.
He noticed that nothing he was saying to gain the upper hand was working against Jackie; that man did not seem to care what he was saying at all. Jackie seemed to be willing to say anything back at him, regardless of the situation they were in.
Claude almost spat out blood in anger. If Benedict had not pulled him back, Claude would have started a fight with Jackie on the spot.
Elder Maurice narrowed his eyes as he appraised Jackie. Mr. Zayne frowned, obviously having something to say. However, with his cautious nature, he swallowed his words.
The atmosphere was suddenly incredibly quiet. Elder Maurice let out a small laugh as he walked toward Jackie. “You don’t seem scared at all, are you now?”
Jackie stared straight into Elder Maurice’s eyes. Even though he could not really hear everything Elder Maurice had said earlier, he knew where Elder Maurice stood.
As long as he was not on the same side as Elder Maurice, Jackie might have a bit more room to maneuver in the coming events. With that, Jackie sported a proud expression for the first time as he nodded slightly. “Of course not. If I were afraid, I wouldn’t have come.”
Elder Maurice raised an eyebrow at this, a curious expression etched onto his face.
After all, Jackie had a sixth-grade alchemist badge on his chest, but he spoke even more proudly than a seventh-grade alchemist.
Elder Maurice frowned as a thought sprung in his head. This kid before him must have been very confident in his skills, provided he was not just being overly proud.
Even though he usually met the latter, he was hopeful that Jackie was the former at this point. Elder Maurice took a deep breath as he said seriously, “You’ve had a rift with Elder Rick, haven’t you?”