Chapter 294: Playing Cat and Mouse
This was the first time Xia Fei had witnessed what it meant to have the highest level of security. Xia Fei had already forgotten just how many checkpoints he had to get through on his journey to the naval headquarters. All he remembered was that the ever present guards on both sides at every gentry along with the hidden bunkers in the mountain cols, the armored vehicles in the dense forest, and the different warships constantly flying overhead.
Just the hover vehicle used to escort Xia Fei, for example, looked quite boring, with its standard military green appearance, which any fashionable young man would find repulsive, looking so ordinary that it exuded not a hint of elegance and could even be seen as unwieldy.
Only the people sitting in the car could understand that the armor on this vehicle was actually thicker than an A-13 Army APC. It had two BL-54 engines, which gave it a massive propulsion, and had over a dozen green communicators, each connected to a different encryption channel of the army.
Xia Fei could vaguely feel his heart beating. After all, it was not every day that anyone could gain entry to the most important military fortress in the Alliance and face its highest level of military security systems in place. Any average person would feel shocked just experiencing it all.
Fortunately, Xia Fei was able to maintain quite a steely temperament. Phantom was convinced that even if Xia Fei were to face the president of the whole Pan-Human Alliance, the young man would be able to chat freely and would not be frightened just from the other person’s reputation.
A good while later, Xia Fei was wedged between the protective escort of four military guards as they came to Admiral Layton’s office. Before this, he went through a complete body check, where his spatial ring, microcomputer, and everything else he had on him had all been confiscated by the guards at the security office.
“Reporting to the chief; I’ve brought Xia Fei as requested,” reported the officer with the rank of major when he pushed open the door and saluted.
Layton responded, “Quickly bring him in. You guys are so slow.”
The guard beside Xia Fei gave him a shove, and Xia Fei absorbed the inertia from the push and stepped into the office. The guard behind him immediately shut the door behind him, not making a sound throughout.
“Actually, they’re fairly efficient. It’s just that we wasted a bit of time by the security office.” Xia Fei chuckled as he quipped.
Layton had the air of an admiral about him. He glared coldly at Xia Fei, while Williams acted a lot friendlier, cracking a smile at Xia Fei as he gestured for him to sit on the couch opposite of him.
“This is the Navy headquarters, after all, so it’s only natural for them to be stringent with the security work. Actually, Admiral Layton already gave the word to forgo the first two security checks, or else you would’ve taken more than two hours to get here.” Williams corrected him.
Xia Fei sat on the couch that Williams had indicated, and the slightly soft cushions caused him to sink slightly when he rested his weight down, making him appear a bit shorter.
Layton said gravely, “Let’s get straight to the point. This isn’t an official inquiry from the military, so you don’t have to be too nervous. General Williams and I here have some questions we wish to ask you and hope that you’ll answer them truthfully.”
Xia Fei did not comment. Though they had said that this was not an official inquiry, the fact remained that he did not have a choice to reject this now that he was here in the Navy headquarters. Everything they had said was simply useless pleasantries and courtesy.
“We are very happy about your performance in that warship event today, but just how did your warship withstand so many salvos of missiles like that? Aside from your use of the proton bomb, I’m afraid you also made modifications to other systems. Do you mind elaborating on what are some of these changes you made to the defensive systems or what special equipment you installed?” Williams asked.
Xia Fei was quite taken aback. The biggest reason for his participation in the tournament was nothing more than to promote his energy-shield booster by letting the whole Alliance know. The military of course had the most warships, and they were precisely the largest client that Xia Fei was trying to acquire. Now that a five-star general and a five-star admiral, Williams and Layton respectively, were expressing interest in his defensive configuration, he was of course more than happy to oblige.
A thought quickly came to Xia Fei and he said, “According to the rules of the tournament, I don’t have the right to reveal the details of my modifications and the equipment I used, so I’m very sorry about that.”
“You can rest assured telling us. We can guarantee that we won’t reveal what you share here with us,” Layton said.
Xia Fei flashed him a smile. “You are both important figures in the Alliance, of course I believe what you’re both saying, but I am bound under the agreement and will risk disqualification once I divulge this.”
Williams chewed on an apple and smiled. “Your warship’s already heavily damaged. According to the rules, though you won this last round, you already lost the qualifications to participate in the tournament finals. I think that being disqualified should not be your ultimate reason.”
Layton followed up closely with a nod. “That’s right. There are two more rounds to the Golden Finger Cup. You’re already so many points behind and continued participation is meaningless to you. Are you worried about something else?”
Xia Fei sternly answered, “Distinguished general and admiral, though I am well versed in machinery, I am also a warrior and a businessman. Since I’ve already signed an agreement and essentially given my word not to reveal the information to my ship on my own, I will have to keep it. If I were someone who couldn’t even keep my word, how would my comrades trust me? Or if I were to be a businessman who’s untrustworthy and couldn’t keep to an agreement, why would my business partners want to collaborate with me?
“A man has no leg to stand on if he can’t be trusted, so I hope the esteemed general and admiral can understand the difficulties I face regarding your request. Even if you force me at gunpoint, my answer will still be the same. I’m helpless since I’m bound by the agreement.”
Xia Fei said this calmly, which promptly surprised Williams and Layton greatly.
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They were surprised to learn that an insignificant person like Xia Fei would actually value integrity so much. Had it been anyone else, they would have most likely spilled the beans already; even a fool would know what it meant to establish a good relationship with these two among the military triumvirate, so a few simple words would be enough to do a favor for these two army bigshots, which meant that it would be that much easier to get their help if something were to crop up in the future.
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