1447 The Art of Pretense

    "2,700,000 combat level... Such a powerful young man! Interesting. Plasma blade, net value: 12,000,000 aetheryte. Battlesuit... 15,000,000... Ahh... Looks like I'm the poorer chap here..." Wagner thought to himself after he had examined Jiang Fei's possessions' net worth. As he stopped analyzing the young Terran, he started seeing him in a whole new light.

    "Are you joining us this evening? You must be new here. I've never seen you before," Wagner spoke, this time, in a less polite and more friendly manner.

    "Why, yes. This is our first time here, for me, and my friend here," Jiang Fei said as he chuckled.

    "A friend?" Wagner gasped slightly as he turned to Kaa'lna. He had been paying attention to Jiang Fei alone and now wondered how he could have missed such a breathtaking view of a female. Then again, Wagner had seen it all and been with more than enough females that it didn't matter anymore. However, his jaw nearly dropped to the ground when he analyzed her thoroughly. She was dressed modestly; nothing to flaunt about. It was her combat level that shook him to his core.

    Who could have over 8,000,000 combat level besides galactic emperors? People with that number would have been the strongest in the universe-practically invincible! One could only imagine just how narrow-minded Wagner was. There were other stronger fighters, ten times stronger even, that roamed the universe on a silver board, strapped to the back of an Ultralisk.

    Wagner might not know many powerful fighters but he was familiar with all the truly richest in the known universe. However, not a single one of them had managed to have a female companion of Kaa'lna's caliber.

    Aino was strong and he was famous to a certain extent. His combat level was more than ten million. Even so, he did not force Kaa'lna to be with his son. Despite having almost zero females in the ranks of the Valsalrian Army, there was one exemption that was Kaa'lna. The foolish son of his tried to court her. In his last attempt to show his might, he led an army to attack the Trade Federation and ended up drifting in space as a dead corpse in the galaxy known as the Domini System.

    In retaliation, Aino had sacrificed many things to buy his way to the top ranks in the army and gained the authority to send Kaa'lna to the Tallgeese Outpost. That was her origin story.

    While the strong and powerful were respected, the stronger, more powerful ones would not bat an eye. In the end, no matter how rich or famous you were, it was inevitable that the stronger ones would prevail and conquer.

    As one of the strong, Kaa'lna had a certain pride. That was why she would not kowtow to even a galactic emperor when forced. She accepted the assignment post, wearing it like a badge of honor.

    So, when not even influence and power could tempt another, a powerless man of wealth could never hope to even hold such a powerful, beautiful woman. Hence, respect was quickly given by Wagner to Jiang Fei. Jiang Fei must have something else hidden inside to be able to court such a beauty.

    "That must be it. The Terran is only as strong as me. How was he able to steal the heart of this beautiful female?" Wagner thought to himself.

    Oddly enough, Wagner's interest was completely invested in Jiang Fei and not Kaa'lna. Sure, Kaa'lna possessed a certain untamed beauty. However, Wagner was not at all interested in her simply because he had had his fair share of beauty. Secondly, he knew better than to talk to such a powerful being as he could accidentally incur her wrath. One could only pray that one would survive and walk after incurring the wrath of the powerful.

    "Brother Jiang Fei, if you don't mind me asking, where do you excel?" Wagner probed.

    "Excel? Hmm... I'm a commissioned officer in the military," Jiang Fei simply said.

    "Well, thank you for your service to the federation. It's an honor that we useless folks could ever hope to earn," said Wagner as he started his brown-nosing ritual.

    "What about you? In your own words, where do you excel?"

    "Me? I'm one of those useless folks. All I've ever done is eat well, sleep well. All in all, I excel in spending money!" Wagner laughed after he revealed his shameless splurging behavior.

    "Ah... At least you know to call yourself useless..." Jiang Fei thought to himself. While the entire known universe was in the imminent danger of being deleted, these useless rich folks had the audacity to enjoy their lives to the fullest! It was unfair!

    "Captain, you're drifting off. They are only as useful as their coffers could be. We will get them back by selling our ships at the highest price. That will be their way of contributing to our cause!" 0541 interrupted his thoughts.

    "You're goddamn right! I'll not only burn a hole in their pockets, I'll break their vaults and empty their fortunes entirely!" Jiang Fei replied.

    "By the way, why are you outside? Come on, join the crowd, have some fun!" Wagner said as he gestured to the noisy crowd inside the mansion.

    "No thanks. I do not enjoy the noise," Jiang Fei said as he gestured a rejection.

    "You and me, brother! I do not like that sort of ambiance. A bunch of people shouting and screaming at each other... It makes no sense!" Wagner said nonchalantly.

    "Great minds think alike. Perhaps we could enjoy the quiet evening here," Jiang Fei said as he gestured invitingly.

    "Don't mind if I do," Wagner replied as he walked about the gazebo and took a seat opposite Jiang Fei.

    "By the way, if this is your first time attending this sort of gathering, I would highly doubt it is to socialize with us, I quote "useless folks". So, I conclude that you must be here for the antique ship then?" said Wagner as he tested the waters. He had only just arrived on Hyur this early morning and it was for Jiang Fei's Braveheart. Until now, he still did not know that Jiang Fei was the real owner. Both Rais and Lucius had kept things tight and clean about the matter. A lot of the attendees were there for the ship and they did not know anything about the owner.

    "That is correct, Mr. Wagner," Jiang Fei confessed. He was there for Braveheart but not to buy, only to sell.

    "Tell me, how would someone like you, a military man, be interested in such an antique spaceship?" Wagner asked. He had been taking note of every answer Jiang Fei had given him. Although he did not fully understand who Jiang Fei was, he could still tell by the uniform he was wearing, the female companion he brought along, and the manner in which he spoke, that he must be of some repute. If he was interested in the ship as Wagner was, something told him that there would be a fierce fight.

    "Why? Hard to explain. I'm as interested as the next person in the room would be. But who would own the ship? Nobody knows... Sometimes, things might turn out to be different from what you'd expected," Jiang Fei answered as he grinned. He now knew that Wagner was one of the potential buyers of Braveheart but he was not going to let him know that he was the seller.

    "Never judge a book by its cover. Is that what you're trying to say? Being passive-aggressive now, aren't we? Well, brother Jiang Fei, I would say that fate determines the result. I wouldn't want you to be out of the bidding so soon but it really depends on how deep one's wallet goes. Things aside, no matter who gets the ship, I would like to be your friend," Wagner said, smiling as he extended his hand out for a shake. He was genuinely interested in Jiang Fei after he had already determined that he was the same, if not better than he was, in terms of social position. Few had the capability to do that.

    And that meant that Jiang Fei's pretense had been successful!
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