Roshi had trained harder than ever during these last three years and pushed himself over the limit, reaching new stages of power he hadn't had even in his youthful peak, which was quite embarrassing—being stronger now than when he was younger.
Nowadays, the only wish Roshi had power-wise was to stay ahead of his students a while longer. Prolong their stay under his wing a bit, so they could grow and later leap through the sky like dragons.
Both Krillin and Goku were more talented than he had ever been. They were more hardworking too.
The key to all this was that other youngster, who was too good with the girls. He already had Bulma, the pretty brainy girl, but he had charmed Launch too!
Roshi loved harem stories, but when it came to real life, and the protagonist wasn't him, it felt like being in a world where you're bound to get NTRed. That's the worst! There's a pretty girl in sight? Well, that's from the harem protagonist! Shitty harem stories!
As they approached, Roshi used his Ki Sensing he had learned with Korin and felt Yamcha's power. He was as strong as ever, but the young man hadn't grown much stronger than he previously was during the last tournament.
With how fast he had learned his Pump Up, Roshi thought his expectations might have been too high.
"Wow! You have barely gotten stronger!" Goku exclaimed shamelessly. These were the first words they had said in over two years. Unlike others, Gohan's grandson was always upfront with people.
Yamcha smiled. "We will see in the ring."
He didn't seem offended, but he might be hiding it well.
"Though you're still a bit stronger than me," Goku frowned.
Yamcha had been the key to Roshi taking his students to Korin for training. So the revelation Yamcha hadn't grown much was quite disappointing. But in the end, the old man wasn't too worried about it. One of his students becoming the strongest was better. Though, trying to keep up with them was getting much harder, despite Roshi having both the experience and hundreds of years head start on them.
They continued talking casually, and Roshi noted Yamcha's shadow, the monk-looking man. The one who had lost terribly against Tao three years ago. But Roshi could tell that the man had grown stronger during those years.
Roshi believed the man's name was Nam, and he felt stronger than Roshi had been in the tournament three years ago.
"I heard you have an online cooking show," Yamcha commented to Launch, whose face brightened.
"Y -Yeah," she beamed.
Roshi frowned. He knew the blonde-haired Launcha had a crush on Yamcha due to his rugged bad-boy looks. The same couldn't be said for the blue-haired Launch, as she was the friendly version and didn't like renegade types.
But the way she flushed when Yamcha mentioned her online cooking show made Roshi fume! He almost wanted to cry. Roshi had three years with Launch and tried to charm her. They lived under the same roof. He paid her bills and bought her anything she asked for. He was unsuccessful at wooing her, yet here comes some snot-nosed brat, and he could make her flush and blush with his first words.
How could the world be so disgustingly unfair?!
"How does that work? Aren't you wanted?" Yamcha questioned as Bulma formed and leaned closer to him as if marking her territory. He didn't seem to mind this, and as they walked, he put an arm around Bulma and mushed her body to his. Her chest fully touched his arm.
At the same time, he continued having a pleasant conversation with Launch. "No, the other me is wanted, and she has blonde hair. But I'm not wanted and have even earned some medals for returning stolen items."
Launch was hesitant to say more, but she continued. " They were things the other me, I technically stole… but you know…"
She seemed to sink into herself, and Yamcha's eyes dawned in realization. "So she robbed, and you returned the stolen things? Damn, you must have some interesting stories."
Launch blushed and nodded uncertainly.
Unfair! Dishonest! Unjust! All this made Roshi feel like crying tears of blood for the day!
Thankfully for small miracles, Yamcha had to go and register with Goku, Krillin, and Nam. So those four separated from the group. Roshi was looking for a moment to escape too and register under a fake name without anyone noticing.
Once they entered the arena and went to the stands, Roshi couldn't help but think that this looked like a different place from the last time. There were four high-resolution cameras on four walls, and they all pointed toward the arena.
This was a stadium that could likely handle more than thirty thousand people, Roshi thought. The place was no longer just a cheap arena; if he were a betting man, Roshi would bet that the winning purse had increased too. Did they get a TV program? Maybe that was why the cameras were around.
As they got in, Bulma had purchased tickets in the front row for all of them. But Roshi couldn't be there, so he acted as if he had gotten lost, which was easy with all the vast crowds walking about.
While walking out of the arena and into the registration box, he heard the spectators talking.
"I heard last time the world's best assassin attacked the last opponent by surprise!"
"Yea, but Yamcha still won."
"Also, those beam clashes were so cool."
"That laser from the sky was the coolest of them all. I hope we get to see it again."
It seemed like Tao, the world's best assassin, getting defeated here the last time seemed to excite the viewers. Roshi didn't know if they had heard about the bombing threat Tao had made or if that was all slipped under the rug.
At the time, cameras hadn't filmed the people on the ring, but word of mouth was the best for these rumors. They wouldn't seem fake, and people wouldn't wander about needlessly to try and look at the evidence. Even skeptics could only prove things by watching the tournament live.
Roshi slips through and puts on the same wig as last year. He doubted anyone bothered remembering Jackie Chun last time. Good wigs were expensive. But after putting on the wig and taking off his sunglasses, Roshi knew what to do next, but it pained him as he shaved his beard, leaving behind only a thick white mustache.
With only his mustache left and the wind hitting his chin, Roshi felt naked. When was the last time his chin had tasted wind and the sun? Hundreds of years ago.
He then went to the registration box. "What's your name?" Asked the attendant.
"Ip… Ip Man," it was too embarrassing to go as Jackie Chun again, with how his last fight had ended against the pretty purple-haired girl.
'I was just a little too excited back then. The same thing won't happen again this time!' Roshi resolved himself.
During these three years of training, Roshi had developed a technique if he stumbled on a woman like Ranfan again. It was named 'close your eyes'. He would close his eyes and force the opponent away using his newly acquired Ki Sense.
When entering the preliminaries, Roshi noted that there were more people than there were in the last tournament. It seemed like Tao being defeated here had made the World Martial Arts tournament a big deal more famous.
But the preliminaries were easy as always, though he did note a couple of new faces, Tien Shinhan and Chiaotzu, likely two powerhouses he would have to look out for. Also, the little one that looked like a doll had some strange telekinetic power that could make someone stop moving.
With only eight people left, the organizers had yet to pit the strongest against each other in the preliminaries.
Himself, Yamcha, Goku, Krillin, King Chappa, Nam, Tien Shinhan, and Chiaotzu. Those were the people who qualified to be in the preliminaries.
Everyone was excited for the next part except Yamcha, he looked relaxed, and his eyes were half-closed. He seemed almost bored.
Had Yamcha winning the last World Martial Arts Tournament gotten to his head? Wasn't he supposed to be Goku's rival?!
Roshi's hands clenched into fists, and he couldn't hold it in anymore. This was it! He approached Yamcha and called out to him. "Young man, you seem relaxed. What's your secret?"
Though the question sounded casual, Roshi wanted Yamcha to regain his fighting spirit. He would beat the youngster to a pulp if he had to. Roshi didn't wish for Goku to beat an unmotivated obstacle. He wanted Yamcha at his best, to be defeated by his student. "I saw your fight last year. You don't seem to have grown stronger."
The conveyed words sounded provoking.
"Really?" But Yamcha had no outward reaction except turning toward the disguised Roshi with a mysterious smirk still plastered on his face. "But dramatic reveals are more fun."
Roshi was about to continue his insults but was interrupted by Nam, who came forward. "You're Ip Man, right? Nice to meet you."
"Nice to meet you too, Nam," now, this was a person Roshi could appreciate. Nam had grown over twice as strong as his last tournament.
"Has anyone ever told you that you look similar to that fellow, Jackie Chun? Same hairstyle and all," Nam suddenly added, making Roshi almost have a heart attack.
'How the hell did someone even remember the wig I used?! Especially this guy who was beaten to a pump by Tao!'
Roshi stood there, frozen, trying to think of an answer. But the longer he stayed quiet, the more suspicious he would become. People might even suspect that Jackie Chun shaved his beard into a mustache.
"Jackie Chun is my brother," Roshi said without thinking too much.
He didn't want his cut beard, the same beard that had accompanied him for over a hundred years, to go to waste. Roshi had been entirely in this new identity. He had put down the beard hair that had accompanied him longer than most people in his life.
"Oh, I see," Nam nodded in understanding. "Your brother had quite the embarrassing loss. The woman didn't touch him, and he bled out of his nose. Did he die? That would be quite an embarrassing way to die."
Roshi felt like every word was an arrow stabbing his heart, and then those arrows twisted. The emotional pain he was facing almost made him want to cry in shame, something he hadn't done in a long time. "Y -Yeah… No, he's alive."
Nam seemed to notice the embarrassment, and Roshi thought the man would finally stop. But Nam instead reassured him. "Don't worry. I won't think less of you for your brother's embarrassing showing. One man's humiliation and pathetic demeanor won't extend to another."
How was he supposed to answer that? Roshi thought worriedly.
A couple of dozen awkward seconds of silence lasted between them as the arena was set up, and the announcer introduced all the fighters who had made it through the preliminaries.
"I understand your pain," Nam whispered suddenly. "I would be drowning in shame too if my brother did that too. But I don't think that you should feel embarrassed. The shame Jackie Chan brought to your family name… Wait, why do you both have different last names?"
Roshi could feel the cold bead of sweat rolling down his face. The lie about him being Jackie Chun's brother was something he had made on the spot. But it was already coming to bite him in the ass.
"Ladies and gentlemen!" Suddenly the announcer's voice cut right through the audience. "The first fight for the day will be King Chabba, the 20th World Tournament Winner, who won without even being hit once. Against the last tournament's champion, the master of the Wolf Martial Arts School, the man who defeated the world's best assassin with his fists alone! YAMCHA!!!"
Both contestants walked on stage. King Chappa might have won his tournament without a scratch, but Roshi guessed there were only a few good contestants during the 20th World Martial Arts Tournament.
But what worried Roshi even more, was that Nam, now no longer distracted by the announcer, was now looking at him again for answers.
By the look in his eyes, Roshi could tell the man was asking questions due to his simple curiosity and was trying to make conversation.
"My father… he had an affair," Roshi made an uncomfortable face when talking about this.
"Oh, sorry," Nam seemed to understand this was a sensitive subject and didn't ask anymore.
Roshi breathed an internal sigh of relief. 'This is the last time I'm ever participating in a World Tournament under disguise. I'm too old to be worrying about these things!"
He concentrated on the fight, and King Chappa was boasting. "With my Eight Handed Attack, no one has ever seen any of my attacks coming!"
"Oh! That's impressive!" Yamcha made an impressed face. Roshi couldn't tell if he was being sarcastic or not.
"Don't mock me!" King Chappa seemed to take that as an insult and charged at Yamcha. Roshi complimented the man's form, but he was still way below Yamcha's level.
King Chappa's arms became eight. He was moving them fast enough to create afterimages, and the afterimages attacked Yamcha.
Roshi could tell that the afterimages weren't real, just moving illusions.
Yamcha stood still as his eyes moved so fast that they looked like they were completely white, and his pupil was moving fast enough not to be seen.
"That's nice," Yamcha remarked calmly.
Eight Illusionary Arms appeared and smashed against King Chappa's.
"H -How?!" King Chappa was shocked. "My technique!"
"Don't worry, I improved it," Yamcha stated calmly, and his arms flashed around and moved erratically. Punching at King Chappa like a machine gun, nothing was initially impressive. After all, they were just illusionary arms, but what happened next shocked even Roshi.
Each arm that landed on King Chappa was mending flesh and breaking bones. This was no longer simply a technique that could fool sight alone!
After some hits, King Chappa was knocked unconscious.
"The winner is Yamcha! With a decisive and easy victory!" The announcer stated, and the crowd jumped with joy.
"See, that's the guy who defeated Tao!"
"Even other champions are easy for him!"
"You know, last time there were bombs here. But he was still able to stop Tao."
"Do you think he will use that laser technique that shoots from the sky?"
"Did you hear the announcer before? They said he has a martial arts school!"
The crowd went wild. It was unexpected how popular Yamcha was. How had the rumors spread so far? Only a couple hundred people had been at the last tournament as spectators.
"Now I ask our audience to calm down," the announcer spoke. "The next fight will be between Nam and the newcomer Chiaotzu!"
"Seems like it's my turn," Nam stepped up.