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In the pilot’s cabin, looking at the holographic screen before him, his hands resting easily on the controls, Ye Chong breathed in deep and closed his eyes, his chest expanding and contracting vigorously like a wind box. After a few seconds, Ye Chong’s chest movements began to lessen, and his breathing slowed. He ran through the last thirty or so rounds of training in his head repeatedly, analyzing his mistakes.

Ye Chong abruptly opened his eyes and yelled, "Begin!"

Tissot stood silently like a black warrior, moving only when the first glowing sphere was almost touching it, its right arm hitting the sphere dead center. The glowing sphere immediately fragmented into a thousand pieces, fading into the darkness. At the same time, the mech angled to the right, its left elbow hitting another glowing sphere with uncanny accuracy, and the sphere fragmented and vanished like before.

Its movements grew faster and faster, every joint deftly utilized as a weapon to attack the spheres!

If anyone were witnessing this, they would be mesmerized by the beautiful sight. Around Tissot was a circle of light, and one could roughly make out Tissot’s figure in the center. Numerous glowing spheres flew towards the glowing circle around Tissot like moth to fire, and immediately scattered silently into sparkling fragments, fluttering into nonexistence from the circle of light. The scene was beautiful as a dream.

Ye Chong still could not endure past the five-minute mark. After three minutes, the difficulty level increased drastically. If he could avoid the glowing spheres instead of hitting them all, Ye Chong believed that he could endure for at least 10 minutes.

Returning back to the real world, Ye Chong finally felt the lethargy hit him. More accurately, it was mental lethargy due to long periods of high concentration. After leaving the virtual world, Ye Chong felt a little dizzy, and breathed deeply for a few times before recovering himself.

Soon, someone came to invite Ye Chong for dinner.

Robert and Shang Zhangming discussed for a few hours in the inner halls. No one knew what they were discussing, only that they were both looking pleasant after the meeting, marking a smooth discussion.

The dinner crowd was large. Or rather, that was what Ye Chong thought, attending a banquet like this for the first time.

On Robert’s side were Robert himself, Bai Linan, Duan and Ye Chong. Behind him were his four bodyguards, and Ye Chong could now finally see the faces of these four mysterious bodyguards.

They were all very pale, wearing cold expressions, much like Ye Chong himself. They look better in suits, compared to Ye Chong. They stood unmoving with their hands on the sides behind Robert.

Ye Chong felt a tic in the corner of his eyes.

By the ear of the nearest bodyguard to him, Ye Chong noticed an inconspicuous impression of a line. This impression extended all the way from the ear to the collar, marking the boundary between two very different skin colors. The side towards the nape was in normal skin color, unlike the unnatural paleness of the face due to prolonged lack of stellar radiation.

Ye Chong noticed similar impressions on the other three bodyguards, and he was inwardly shocked! He immediately thought of the masks! Only putting on masks for long periods would cause such a disparity in skin colour! Their Double Curved Steps already made him suspicious of them being from Black Cove, and now, he was almost sure of it! Only Black Cove people would wear masks, and since he had seen those masks before, he knew that the mask matched the impressions on the skin perfectly! Wearing the masks for a long time would naturally lead to this kind of pallor.

If these four men were from Black Cove, then how was Robert connected to Black Cove? If Black Cove would send four soldiers to him as bodyguards, he must be very important to them!

It looked like Robert was more than he seemed to be!

Ye Chong tried desperately to maintain his normal expression, and luckily, no one was noticing him at the moment. After taking in the shocking fact, Ye Chong quickly calmed down. Why did they not make any moves against him? Black Cove was out for him, and would not give up easily as was their usual style.

Could the opponents be faking their ignorance, and secretly sending for backup?

Shang Zhangming had many of his own people attending the banquet. Besides Shang Zhangming himself and Zhang Xin, there were also other important members of the Shang family. Shang Zhangming was a little surprised to find Ye Chong at the dinner table, but he swiftly accepted the fact and became at ease.

The banquet began with a joyful atmosphere. Ye Chong, occupied with his problems, could barely taste what he was eating.

"Mu, I think we’re gonna have to leave soon!" Ye Chong spoke to Mu in his mind.

"Yes, but we must pick a more suitable time, or it will attract unwanted attention! This advice is from Shang, but I agree!" Mu and Shang communicated in a way that Ye Chong could not understand, but Mu would always relay Shang’s thoughts whenever he was in unfamiliar territory. This was not a courtesy that Shang would ever extend!

Shang’s words were reasonable, and Ye Chong understood that if he moved too hastily, it would only attract unwanted attention. What he needed now was to be left alone!

After experiencing so much, Ye Chong had grown more mature! If it was his earlier self, Ye Chong would immediately deploy his mech and escape!

Since it was decided that they would find a suitable time to make their move, Ye Chong could finally notice the delicious food in his mouth. Since he did not want attention, he continued to eat without looking up. He had never attended such an event, and did not know that his actions were out of the ordinary. Everyone else was only delicately sampling their dishes, but only he was eating by the mouthful! In a banquet like this, everyone would try to demonstrate their refinement. The meal was only an ends to a mean, as everyone actually hoping to bond with each other in the setting.

The rest of the table looked at Ye Chong strangely, most of them being members of the Shang family, looking at Ye Chong with aloofness and contempt.

Mu relayed Shang’s words dutifully to Ye Chong, "Ye, you idiot, you’re destroying your reputation. Heavens, how did I got to know someone like you?" Mu imitated Shang’s tone to a T. Of course, he did not forget to add, "Ye, that was Shang. You know, I’m not familiar with this! Shang may be more reliable in this matter!"

"Did I do anything wrong?" Ye Chong was baffled.

"Ye, I think Shang should be the one to handle this!" Mu was just like that, always choosing the best solution to the problem.

"Haha, I thought I’d still need to wait a few days to come out, but now here I am! It’s only for three hours, but it’s so much better than being stuffed in there! All thanks to our most adorable Ye!" Shang laughed like a maniac.

Ye Chong groaned inside. The fellow was obviously bored to death inside! He could only hope that the mech would not suggest any crazy ideas!

"Okay, Ye, now do as I say!" Shang spoke complacently, like a child who found himself an interesting toy.

Shang’s tone immediately triggered a sense of foreboding in Ye Chong, but he had no choice but to acquiesce. "Alright!, But, Shang, don’t push it!"

"Sure, I would never!" Shang’s tone gave Ye Chong a very good idea of what the mech thought of his warning.

"Alright, let’s begin!" Shang spoke excitedly.

"Ye, you’ve managed to make yourself the center of everyone’s attention, even if in an absolutely gross way. But don’t worry, hehe, this problem is a piece of cake for me! However, to avoid your repeating the same mistake, allow me to explain!" Shang was obviously very confident of himself.

"Oh, what did I do?" Ye Chong was also curious about what went wrong.

Noting Ye Chong’s interest, Shang was even more encouraged. "Ye, socializing is a very difficult skill, looks like you’ll have to be formally coached in social etiquette. Take this banquet, for example. For aristocrats, it’s not an occasion to fill their stomachs. They will usually eat a little something before attending the banquet, since they can then focus on socializing with other people, instead of eating! Don’t underestimate the power of dining etiquette; it’s the most important way for the upper class to socialize, and a very effective strategy to bring people together."

"I see!" Ye Chong said unsurely.

"You’ve made five mistakes just now. One, you should eat the dessert laid before you first, and not the main dish in your plate. Two, you’re using your cutleries wrong. Three, usually, you should take a sip of the wine on your left after a few bites of food. Four, ignoring other people while you eat is very rude. Five, the way you eat is criminally offensive."

"Heavens, do you still call that dining?" Ye Chong was vexed, and groaned inside.

"Ye, this is a very elegant field of knowledge!" Shang spoke eagerly.

"Hmph, I don’t see what’s so elegant about it!" Ye Chong could not agree. To him, all these difficult rules only served to complicate what was originally a very simple affair of eating. Besides, it was very inefficient.

"Sigh, I know you can’t understand everything right now, just do as I say!" Shang gave up on convincing Ye Chong for the moment.

"Hmm, alright!" Ye Chong had no qualms with that. After all, he understood his current situation. Since he was not powerful enough to break the rule, he could only protect himself by following them.

"Ye, see that third cutlery from the left?"

"This one?" Ye Chong picked up a table knife with a serrated edge and a hook on the other side.

"Yes! This one. Now hold another table knife in your left hand, the one with the metallic handle! Hehe, using two table knives is a very ancient way of dining for aristocrats. Since it’s difficult, not many people eat like this anymore, but it’ll make you look like an aristocrat yourself, surely someone will recognize this posture. All we have to do is to convince them of this! Hehe …" Shang gave an evil laugh.

"Move your hands slowly, always cut your food into thumb sized pieces. Keep your elbows slightly open to the side. Control your expression, make sure you look calm. Sigh, I suppose that last thing is your forte!"

Ye Chong did exactly as told. His accurate control of his strength allowed for easy handling of the knives.

Most of the people at the table were chatting enthusiastically, and did not notice Ye Chong’s change in demeanor. However, a few of the Shang family’s older members exchanged looks of surprise, obviously noticing Ye Chong’s "uniqueness". However, most of them still looked at Ye Chong with condescension.

"Ye, you can resume your normal way of eating now!" Shang laughed like a knave.

"Why is that?" Ye Chong felt lost.

Shang explained carefully, "Don’t worry, these people here are all very cunning. They’ll definitely notice your short demonstration. If they recognize this ancient and difficult way of eating, they’ll definitely change their minds about you! Ye, remember, never let your opponent guess your next move! Sudden actions like this will make them think that you’re unpredictable, and not some ignorant peasant. They might think that you did it unintentionally, and even believe that you’re actually the descendant of some long forgotten ancient aristocratic family! Haha, of course, they’d never guess what you’re hiding. However, that’s all none of your business! Isn’t that right?"

"Yes!" These were definitely not complications that he needed to know.

Food was excellent, the best that Ye Chong had ever had. Since Shang assured him it was alright, Ye Chong ate to his heart’s content. This attracted curious glances from everyone on the table, and the few older members of the Shang family exchanged some meaningful looks. Something unintelligible flashed past Robert’s eyes, but he quickly resumed his conversation with Shang Zhangming.

Dinner ended, and Ye Chong did not do anything strange again. Shang managed to keep silent throughout the affair, which surprised him! Just when Ye Chong thought it was all over, Shang finally broke his silence, announcing excitedly, "Ye, it’s finally time for the main event!"

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