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Ye Chong was the only Aurora member under the age of fifty.
His membership was the result of an accident. In one of his early days in the virtual world, Ye Chong entered the Aurora’s central hub by accident. However, none of the members paid him any attention, as they were either engrossed in some group discussion or conducting their own research. Ye Chong, driven by curiosity, approached the noisiest group in the room, and was surprised to find that they were discussing the piping designs for mech engines. Ye Chong was very much interested, and soon became absorbed with the discussion at hand.
There were two old men who proposed two different design solutions, and both were stubbornly defending their own positions.
Ye Chong was reminded of Mu Shang’s engine schematics, and inadvertently spoke up, suggesting an entirely new approach. Suddenly, the group went very quiet. The two factions were speechless, as they stared in surprise at the young newcomer that appeared out of the blue!
Ye Chong gulped.
That was how Ye Chong was introduced to the elderly group, and one of them eventually came up with the idea of accepting Ye Chong as a member of Aurora. This won the immediate approval from almost everyone, and Ye Chong did not get a chance to say anything before being taken into their fold.
And so, Ye Chong unexpectedly became a member of Aurora.
Ye Chong was not entirely happy with the outcome. He had always thought that he had inherited most of his Papa’s skill and knowledge, and was somewhat confident with his expertise in mechanical modifications; but here in Aurora, everyone was at least a few levels above him, and that was a hard fact to swallow.
Unwilling to lag behind, Ye Chong upped his game and began the long and hard journey of further educating himself.
No matter which field he studied, these old timers had ensured that it was thoroughly explored and well researched, leaving a large gap for him to catch up. Fortunately for Ye Chong, who had a solid foundation in these fields, could absorb and adapt the resources around him like a hungry whirlpool.
In time, Ye Chong’s innate talent, impeccable learning skills, and solid foundation were noticed by the other members.
These old men have had their moments of glory, enjoying prestigious reputations in their own expertise, but many of them were without a predecessor of choice, because a good student was hard to come by!
Over time, they grew interested in Ye Chong, as if he was the one they were all waiting for. They welcomed his questions, and let him in on many of their latest findings, further adding to the list of things Ye Chong had to catch up with. However, Ye Chong continued his studies with unhindered curiosity, and this gained the approval of his seniors.
In the end, Ye Chong became Aurora’s one and only apprentice, and a shared one at that.
He entered into the hub, and the old timers all came up to him.
“Ah, isn’t this our young lad? Haven’t seen you in a few days, did you get to understand the formula I taught you last time? You didn’t? No matter, we can still look at it from a different perspective, for example ”
The voice was interrupted by another angry one. “You old fool, don’t keep annoying our young lad with questions, if you drive him nuts, I’ll hold you accountable!” The same voice continued, “Hey young lad, come on here, let me see if you’ve grown taller. Oh, still the same old, eh? Nothing to worry about, the human body is only flesh and bones, but it’s your character and knowledge that matters most! I have a few papers here that I’ve been working on these past few years, you can have a look at them when you’re free!”
“Huh, old Du, what an ingenious approach! How could I have not thought of that? I should start compiling my own work too!”
The elderly named Du was smiling with delight, exceedingly pleased with himself. Ye Chong, however, stood amongst the elderly, with the info chip from Du in hand, thrown off by the conversational exchanges.
Inside, there was an extravagantly decorated dwelling room.
Jeb’s handsome facial features wore a twisted expression, as though a noble and graceful lord had transformed into a horrifying demon.
Damn it, today’s loss was completely unexpected. Jeb recalled how his gloating act must seem like a clown’s clumsy performance in the eyes of his opponent, and his anger stoked into a flaming rage.
The series of unfortunate events that befell him these past few days had stretched his endurance to the maximum, and Jeb could not take it anymore - he flung his virtual world hyperlink into the intricately patterned carpet, breaking the device into pieces.
Just the thought of the imposter made Jeb see red. How he cursed and cursed the damned bastard.
This is not the end! Definitely not! Jeb howled inaudibly in his mind.
I, the magnificent Jeb, cannot possibly lose to a scum like that. I will make him pay for this, I’ll kill him, that’s right! I’ll kill him! By then, Jeb was far from rational, his eyes bloodshot from his manic state. Jeb could not help but laugh as he imagined his opponent begging for mercy under his sword.
A few minutes later, Jeb finally cooled down and regained his composure and grace. He grabbed the comms device from the table and imperiously summoned, “Butler Qiu, get over here!”
A professional looking man gave a fist wrapping salute and a slight bow before Jeb - this was his family’s butler, Qiu.
Jeb spoke through gritted teeth, “Butler Qiu, find out everything about the NR Training Center’s pilot registered under the name YC. I want to know everything about him, understand? Everything!”
The butler’s lowered eyes darkened for a moment - whoever this YC is, they must have angered the reckless young master. He knew well enough that his young master was good only in his looks, as he was always uninterested in learning, frequently engaged with idle sport and had the bitter peculiarity of never leaving insults unavenged. Those who offended him never end up well, and many have suffered as a result.
Qiu sighed deeply - someone will suffer again this time!
But superficially, he exaggerated an obedient “Yes, sir,” and accepted his orders with due courtesy, for he would not dare to offend the young master for fear of losing his job. Moreover, the current situation was an opportunity for him, if appropriately handled.
It’s not too hard to please someone like Jeb - simply acting like the perfect servant would keep him happy, unlike dealing with his elder brother, the eldest young master. Qiu suppressed a shiver from thinking about the cunning man and his impenetrable thoughts.
Jeb was satisfied with his butler’s response, for he derived his sense of superiority from those of lower stature. Contented, he waved the butler away with pretentious grace.
Hehehe, you little fool, I’ll get to you yet, and let you realize the horrible consequences of offending yours truly!
Jeb tipped his wine glass and sipped on three-centuries-old naturally brewed red wine. He studied the glass intently, his thoughts unknown to anyone, safe for himself. The crimson drink glowed softly under the dim lighting, radiating an ominous, bloody aroma that promised certain death.
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