The most astounding fact was that, in every generation, the Zuo family would produce one or several talented characters, and never suffered from the problem of succession. This was envied by may other combat related aristocratic families. The Zuo family gradually became more and more mysterious in the eyes of society.
As the social status of combat slowly faded towards oblivion, the Zuo family became less of a presence in modern society. Soon, many had come to forget this mysterious aristocratic family.
That was why when Hua Shangmei and Rui Bing heard that the Zuo family of Tian Luo were here, they were very much surprised. Whether it was the Rui family or the Tian Hua dojo, both were mere infants compared to the long history of the Zuo family. Even the Lan family of September could not be compared to the Zuo family.
The Zuo family’s unique combat techniques were difficult to determine, since every generation’s representative offered his or her own unique combat styles.
What could the Zuo family of Tian Luo offer to this dying field of combat?
For some reason, the cold face of that young man who defeated her came to Rui Bing’s mind. What level of attainment has he achieved now? Rui Bing wondered to herself.
Ye Chong’s life could be said to be almost happy and peaceful, or at least, he felt that it was actually not bad. Besides the strange illness he had, he had nothing to complain of. Lan Yixing had not taught any new moves to him ever since that day, and only reminded Ye Chong to practice diligently whenever he met him. Ye Chong had no regrets. His combat skills had always been acceptable, and his rich experience in actual combat was unrivaled by the likes of Lan Yixing. Besides, most of his battles were to the death, and that had made him even stronger. In the end, combat was still a way of attacking and defending oneself. Now, Lan Yixing had opened the doors to a whole new world for him to discover.
On the one hand, Ye Chong was amazed by this new world, and on the other hand, he was eager to investigate and study this world with his own ideas. Of course, this was largely due to his habit of figuring things out by himself. Ye Chong now wanted for Lan Yixing to accept him as a student. He saw Lan Yixing as a part of this unknown and mysterious world. Besides, from Lan Yixing’s demonstrations all this while, Ye Chong believed that he must have other powerful and secretive techniques. It was enough to hook his interest.
However, despite his interest, Ye Chong had no plans to put this into motion. Right now, he must lay low and avoid attention. After all, Black Cove must be waiting for him outside. Besides, his impulsive decision to finish off that mech last time must have attracted Black Cove’s attention.
Ye Chong was not wrong. His actions had caused tension amongst Black Cove’s men. This tension was noticed by the MPA and the Sanctuary, already aware of Black Cove’s unusual movements recently. The Three Forces had, for some reason, unanimously decided not to alert the local authorities. Life on Windstar went on as usual, the tourists excited for their travels, unaware of that hidden tension beneath.
When Rui Bing set her eyes on the people from the Zuo family, it was already lunch time.
Zuo Ling was a large man, his athletic body was matched with keen eyes that look as though they could penetrate anyone he set his eyes on. His half exposed chest showed solid muscles. His palm was wide and strong, framed with an edge of calluses. The wild and confident expression on his face, coupled with a half-smile, was sure to attract many a good beautiful ladies.
On his chest hung a black pendant, and Hua Shangmei recognized from his familiarity in mech combat that it was a dimension keystone. In the dining hall, Rui Bing was the only who did not realize this. Combat experts rarely had a dimension keystone with them, and since Tian Hua dojo was currently putting efforts into developing mech combat techniques, Hua Shangmei and others were exposed to these modern elements.
Could this Zuo Ling also be skilled in mech combat?
Wei Yuan did not think much of them. To him, no one was a match for YC in mech combat. Wei Yuan managed to secure a place at the dining table due to Rui Bing. He had decided to stay near Sister Bing at all times, as she was his only link to YC. Unless the situation demanded it, he would never give up. Fortunately, Sister Bing was willing to indulge him, or he would have to return home.
Zuo Ling’s arrival was treated with wariness by Hua Tiankai and others. An uninvited guest, and one from the Zuo family at that - how could done not feel wary? However, Hua Tiankai and his students were not just your average people, and welcomed the visitor with extended courtesies.
Zuo Ling may look arrogant, but his demeanor suggested an open mind and forthrightness.
"As expected, Mr Zuo is an expert!" Deng Zhong bowed to Zou Ling. He had lost uneventfully against the oppressive combat style of Zuo Ling. Deng Chong was straightforward in nature, and showed fine sportsmanship despite his loss.
"You’re too kind!" Deng Chong’s demeanor also won Zuo Ling’s approval.
Hua Shangmei and Zheng Zhongxing could only stare in disbelief. Deng Chong’s lost was acceptable for them, but they could not accept how Deng Chong was completely overwhelmed in his defeat, without even a chance for retaliation. They exchanged a horrified glance. Deng Chong was the best of the three of them, and if his match ended like this, it would be in vain for them to take up the challenge.
Was the Zuo family really that powerful?
Rui Bing still wore her cold expression, but her eyes were now glowing brightly. She was of course far more skilled than the three students of Hua Tiankai. She was certain that this man, Zuo Ling had attained "Jie". He was the youngest she had ever met to have reached this level besides herself.
"Jie" was attained when a combat expert had surpassed the traditional boundaries of combat. These Jie experts had skills unrivalled by average combat experts, and they no longer rely solely on physical strength. Jie masters were the true experts amongst combat experts.
Jie experts were a mystery in the world of combat. As the field slowly faded into history, fewer and fewer combat experts reached this level of attainment. The power of Jie experts was also exaggerated by the public as almost invincible characters. However, Rui Bing dismissed those rumors. When she first met Ye Chong, she had just only attained "Jie", but was still beaten by Ye Chong. Of course, that was mainly because she was new to this mysterious world, and her unfamiliarity with what her body was truly capable of.
Strength was not absolute! She realized this from experience. From then on, she improved herself even faster.
Similarly unfazed was Hua Tiankai. His constant expression betrayed none of his thoughts.
A thin, black threadworm wandered around in the virtual world. Passcode protected doors did nothing to stop its advance, since it could easily wriggle through the locks and enter the photon processor hyperlinked to the virtual world.
It browsed casually through the photon processor records, and suddenly gasped in surprise. The holographic recording before it was of Ye Chong’s training. If Wei Yuan was here, he would have found that the photon processor was actually his!
YC was a name that went viral recently, and anyone who had spent some time in the virtual world would quickly become aware of the name. He was no exception. As an elite Maverick, he was more familiar with the virtual world than the average person. However, he was not interested in mechs, and so was never interested in this character.
The recording before him, however, seemed to have renewed his interest. There was only one latest holographic recording of YC, the one that was on Richie. Here was another recording that was never leaked out. Could the owner of this photon processor be YC?
YC was very much a legend in the virtual world, rising into fame in just a few years, and recently, becoming even more popular. This was a rarity. The virtual world changed at a rapid pace, and new personalities were often quickly forgotten over time. Sustaining a reputation for more than two or three years was more than uncommon.
He was quickly disappointed by his findings. The owner of the photon processor was only a fan of YC. Nonetheless, finding the real identity of a virtual world user was not too hard for him. Besides, it was made easier by the fact that the probability of YC being a Maverick was very small.
It was undeniable that mech piloting and photon processors were entirely different fields. In today’s world, the depths of every field was enough to occupy a lifetime, and few would ever wanted to study in two completely unrelated fields. Even if such a person existed, the probability of this person mastering both fields was as unlikely as a planet being hit by a deadly asteroid. Since YC was an outstanding mech pilot, it was almost a certainty that he was not a Maverick.
First, he thought of going through the MPA’s database.
The MPA’s passcodes were ineffective against him, and he accessed their systems without difficulty. Such ease of access was still enough to make him, after all his trials and tribulations, pleased with himself. The MPA’s seemingly impenetrable fortress was just like home to him.
His success was mainly due to his unique calculations. His creative calculations allowed him to change his body size. From his initial appearance a hairy caterpillar, years of careful considerations and calculations finally allowed him to compress his appearance into an impossibly thin black threadworm. This was also the best result he obtained after numerous calculations. While it was not the ideal invisible presence he had expected, it was enough to satisfy him.
This state of presence of allowed him great freedom in the virtual world. No one could detect his presence, and the apparently watertight passcode protected doors were nothing to him. He had used his calculations to benefit from the virtual world, such as serving the group that he was a part of now. If not for his powerful skills as a Maverick, he would never be able to join the group, or even obtain the position that he had now.
However, he was greatly surprised to find that the MPA had no information on YC.
He was now feeling exceptionally nervous.
What did this mean? It meant that YC was very possibly a Maverick, or a friend of one. No matter the possibility, it was bad news for him. Besides, the other party could use an NR Training Center without registering. He was almost certain that he was looking at a very powerful Maverick.
In the virtual world, investigating a person’s identity in the real world was taboo, and among the Mavericks, it was a sure sign of provocation. As an experienced Maverick, he was familiar with all these unwritten rules.
However, he was not exactly afraid. He was at least confident of his own powers. It was just that the matter was becoming complicated, since his sudden curiosity had now caused hostility between him and another powerful Maverick. It was not a pleasant business.
Nonetheless, the events had progressed to this point, and he could only let it go and discontinue his probing.
Ye Chong was practicing in his room. His daily routine had become fixed, with time allocated for meditation and combat practice, followed by cleaning the training grounds, and then returning to his room for some alchemy. It was too bad that the room was a little too small for him to practice mech maneuvering.
Shang’s silence was welcomed by Ye Chong. Ever since Ye Chong installed a miniature pulsed signal device under Shang’s instructions one night in one of the houses near the dojo, Shang had spent of his much in the virtual world. This resulted in a peaceful environment for Ye Chong.
Ye Chong was counting the days until when Wang Weixing returned. Once he was back, he would find the doctor and cure his sickness, then he would travel to a planet where no one knew him and live a careful life, doing things that interested him. It would be such a carefree life.
Not daring to head outside, Ye Chong knew nothing of what was happening out there. He believed that staying in his room was the best option for the moment.
"Hmph!" Suddenly, the long silent Shang humphed coldly with a deadly undertone, enough to startle even Ye Chong. Ye Chong stopped what he was doing and asked, "What is it? Shang!"