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238 Chapter 238 – Striving to be First and Fearing to be Last 2 in 1

 Just as Sully had said, a party like this was mainly a gathering between the new generation and the higher ups of the Federation. It was done in order for the two groups to mingle and get to know one another. Naturally, the only ones to possess the qualifications for such were the captains of the various squadrons. For an elite squadron like Saxon or Austin, even their vice-captains were invited to mix around with the liveliness of the great hall.

This, however, was more of a casual meeting for a squadron like Tianjing. Arnold Teuton, the one to invite those qualified people, didn't seem to have any intent on purposefully inviting Scarlet over. Even his call for Wang Zhong seemed rather hasty and rushed.

One mustn't feel overly proud or haughty of one's awesomeness during one's youth. Many a time, recognition of a figure from the upper levels would equate to ten years of constant fighting and many winding roads one could take. Furthermore, being able to smoothly reach the top depended on these people supporting one's back. Those with the slightest bit of emotional quotient would know how important such an opportunity was.

Following Arnold into the large hall, Wang Zhong noticed that the other captains had already converged within. He was clearly the last to be summoned here.

Present here were the elites of the elite. At the very front was Leo and Paul who clearly received most of the attention of those inside.

The atmosphere inside the large hall wasn't as solemn or restrictive as Wang Zhong expected. On the contrary, it appeared very fashionable and relaxed with quite a few so-called successful figures standing in pairs along the small corners and dining tables spread around. Dressed in western suits and with ages around thirty to forty, most of them wore warm gazes as they judged and sized up these youths with outstanding talents that had just walked in.

While the youths were admittedly trying to obtain the recognition of these higher-ups, in reality didn't those higher-ups also hold similar interests in them?

Youths were the capital of revolution. Regardless of which angle you viewed them from, these young fellows were still extremely youthful and immature, but in the end the future of the Federation would still be lifted above the shoulders of these youngsters. Providing support to these prospective youths and offering various kinds of benefits would bring them under the clan's wing. In other words, they were currently trying to 'invest' in them. Such matters were a favourite pastime of those at the top.

Naturally, if the other party was a member of a large aristocratic clan, then they would include even more deals and promote the relationship of the younger generations between them. In so doing, it would bring the two clans closer together.

This was the most orderly path within this era; investing in geniuses!

The entire Freedom Federation's governmental structure was based off concepts of inheritance taken from the old era. After experiencing the baptism of the Dark Era, while several parts were changed here and there, the core concept still remained.

It seemed the few who possessed the greatest authority and status here were those middle-aged men sitting along a long sofa on the left side of the great hall. Anyone with the faintest inkling about Copperfield would recognize those few people.

Calderon of the Sion Clan, Socrates of the Myron Clan, Bern of the Pandelis Clan... these few were from Copperfield City's first rank aristocratic clans and had both complicated and tangled-up connections in the city. Although they weren't comparable to the enormous leviathan that was the Potter Clan, they could still be designated as giant figures in the entirety of the Eastern Area.

Take the Sion Clan for example. They were one of the largest munitions suppliers in the Eastern Area. Even if the clan's background, network, and Federation qualifications were tossed out the window, their own personal forces would still be enough for them to attract one's attention.

As for the Myron Clan, they were transport merchants. In the eyes of many, they might only appear to be a small transport company living under the shadows of the Stuart Clan, but the reality was that they had forcibly snatched away 40 percent of the armoured railway transports in the entire Eastern Area. And if one compared the transport and shipping abilities within the Eastern Area, then they alone could summon a shipping might far more powerful than even the Stuart Clan.

Lastly would be the Pandelis Clan. They held similar areas of operations as the Assassin Clan. On the surface they conduct auctions and deal with precious stone creations, but the reality was that they were a very specialized adventuring clan. The number of high-level mercenaries under their control was around twenty. Regardless of how mysterious the various restricted areas of the Federation were, or even the 'Frontlines' which were completely unknown to the common man, their shadowy fingers were present in all of them...

Calderon, Socrates, and Bern. Perhaps they weren't the ones to hold the most authority within their clans, but they could definitely be considered figures with true speaking power among the various clans and even within Copperfield City. When placed alongside this group of youths who had yet to even graduate, they could truly be counted as figures those youngsters would risk their lives to look up to.

This was especially true for Calderon. As the eldest son of the Sion Clan, he was the nominal successor to the clan leader. In this case he was undoubtedly more influential than the others beside him. To willingly give Laura face and come tonight was surprising even for her.

When invitations were given out for such occasions they would generally skip past specific names and only include the surnames of the various clans within. As all of the various large clans knew about this special class being held within the academy, it was the usual practice for them to give the Potter Clan some face by sending over someone with a bit of authority and that was all. No one expected, however, that Calderon would personally grace this event.

Although he was only forty years old, the aura of a high-level controller had long since been nurtured in Calderon. Even as he casually sat on the sofa, his every word and smile was enough to affect the surrounding atmosphere in this large hall.

"Little Friend Leo." After receiving Leo's self-introduction, Calderon gave a smile in reply and said, "You've done pretty well for having defeated out Copperfield City's god-favoured daughter and achieve champion of the entire Eastern Area in one fell swoop. I heard your Austin Academy's Five Shield Formation was actually created by you. Is that right, Little Friend Leo? Haha. I personally watched a few of your matches. You were able to bring out the defensive capabilities of heavy soldiers while also consolidating each and every single step in order to reduce to the most minimum the issues behind the formation's inflexibility. Such creativity and talent is truly admirable."

Austin's Five Shield Formation had already been analyzed inside and out after the previous year, and its strengths and weaknesses were already known to everyone. But when those words left Calderon's mouth, it undeniably held a different kind of flavour to it. Even Leo, who had his heart steeled on the militaristic path and had no plans to establish himself in Copperfield City, felt nearly overwhelmed by the emotions rising in his heart. To gain recognition from such a person would clearly provide much assistance to his future.

It was obvious that Calderon had motives for participating in this event. In fact, this was just another display of his Sion Clan's style.

During the past years, they had grown rich from their sales of firearms and weren't inferior to a leviathan like the Potter Clan on the aspect of wealth. What they were missing, however, was true authority and status. Within the circle that comprised of those clans at the peak, a clan like the Sion Clan which only made their mark in the past two to three generations were considered nouveau riche at the very most. If they didn't show much ambition and only looked over their wealth and connections within Copperfield City, then they would undeniably be able to live extremely comfortable lives for a long period of time.

But if they did want to participate in politics, as well as hold some true authority within the Federation, then they needed to transform their status of merchants into that of genuine upper class aristocrats. They needed to use their brains.

So what were they to do? They other established clans had already long-filled their many positions to the brim, simply leaving no room for newer clans to insert themselves. The only method left was to invest money and effort into these elite youths. Controlling the younger generation was equivalent to controlling the future. Thus, Calderon was extremely interested in such a gathering, and he had a clan willing to fork over a lot of money. Naturally, the prerequisite was that the youth they chose was worth investing in.

As the host, Laura sat beside them.

Laura's status in the Potter Clan was extremely high and wasn't of the same level as those of her generation. Her father, Cartier Potter, was the eldest son of the Potter Clan's main branch and was a powerful contender for the next Potter Clan head.

In his youth Cartier led Copperfield Academy to burst out with glory in the CHF Competition finals. After graduating, rather than enter a high level military posting arranged by his clan's elders, he instead started as the lowest ranking soldier on the Federation's frontlines. In the short span of two dozen years, he achieved the position of major general and was one of the youngest generals in the Federation's military.

Although one of the reasons he could achieve such success was still in part due to his status, it had merely brought him a couple more opportunities within the military. Every step he took was built upon the accumulation of military accomplishments, to the point where he could be rated as a legendary figure of his era.

Other than Laura's father, there was also her elder brother, Molton Potter. He was considered one of the leading figures inside the Federation's younger generation, and was the only expert from Copperfield City to reach the sanctuary division before the age of 25. The only gripe one would have was his personality. Simply speaking, he was wanton and unrestrained and loved his freedom, causing much headache for his family members.

Although her current accomplishments weren't as high as her brother's, Laura still held the alternate identity of a soul beast master with her Explosive Bear. This lent much credit to her name. Everyone was quite new to the boundless future prospects of a soul beast master, an occupation that seemed to have no limit. Looking at in the long term, Laura's status seemed to exceed her elder brother's in the eyes of the majority. She seemed to possess an extremely high possibility of becoming one of the top-class, ultra-strong future experts of the Federation.

So while she was still of the later generation, she wasn't someone the likes of Calderon, Socrates, or Bern could treat as a little kid.

"Austin Academy's Student Leo." Calderon's laughing voice sounded exceedingly candid, and the faint hint of amusement in his tone didn't seem to have any ire in it. "The members participating in the Federation's greatest defensive formation of last year are indeed young and promising."

"Calderon, Little Friend Paul from Saxon is also pretty good you know. Although their results a few years ago was only 10th place in the Eastern Area, they still managed to storm their way to the top three last year. Haha! I recently heard you had thoughts of helping a number of other squadrons, right? Saxon would be a pretty good choice."

Paul was different from Leo.

Although he could be considered a member of an aristocratic clan, a clan from such a third-rate city like Saxon was definitely unable to reach the genuine stage these bigwigs stayed at. Generally, the majority of those born with such a background would head off to the military after graduation and end up in teams like the Elite Raiding Force.

But Paul just so happened to be an assassin. Although assassins were still very popular in the army, they were basically relegated roles such as reconnaissance and scouting. They did the most menial and dangerous of work, the death rate being the highest in their divisions. The majority wouldn't be able to see light their entire lives.

Such an arrangement wasn't something Paul was willing to do. Rather than choosing the military after graduation and becoming a reconnaissance soldier, or being holed up in a small city like Saxon to slowly rot away, he would rather take this opportunity to make friends with some bigwigs!

He of course didn't dare to have thoughts on a clan like the Potter Clan, which was too big of a boat for him. Rather, even if he were to make it with them, he wouldn't be able to obtain that high of a position. Instead it would be the new aristocracy, the ones with wealth and power like Calderon that would be most suited for Paul. It didn't matter how much support Saxon Academy provided him. Since the Saxon Squadron didn't lack any funds or supporting merchants, the most important thing for him was to increase his level of connections with the higher-ups.

Suppressing the ecstasy in his heart, Paul tried his best not to appear too servile or overbearing as he replied, "Thank Mr. Calderon and Mr. Socrates for your praises. This is simply the result of every member of Saxon working hard together. This Paul doesn't dare take credit for it all."

"Haha." Calderon gave a hearty chuckle as he said, "Not arrogant nor impatient. Neither servile or overbearing. There are very few youths with this level of culture temperament!"

Other than Leo and Paul, the other squadron captains went up one by one and excitedly gave a self-introduction to Calderon and the others. Although their results the year before weren't comparable to Austin or Saxon's, they were still veteran squadrons of the Eastern Area and possessed a certain level of competency and strength. All of them were heaven-favoured ones and as long as they spoke they would garner a round or two of praise and applause.

As Laura listened, she would decorate the already perfect words with some flowers from time to time. Regardless of whether it was Austin's Leo or Saxon's Paul, the two of them were undoubtedly the main characters here in the eyes of the majority. Even so, they weren't the ones to truly interest Laura. Searching into the crowd, she quickly spotted the figure of her target.

Tianjing Academy's Wang Zhong.

When she noticed his current situation, she almost burst out into laughter.

This fellow appeared a little too calm. Those few vice-captains that had tagged along were desperately trying to head toward the front of the queue and vie for the chance to show their faces to these great figures at the front. If they did manage to get a chance, they would begin to shoot their mouths off. All of this commotion had shoved the genuine captain of Tianjing Academy to the back of the line. If it were any other captain then they would have already erupted with fury. Only this fellow appeared unworried about all this. In fact, he just stood there at the back with an unhurried and content expression.

Laura had already instructed Arnold to get a hold of Wang Zhong's background information. This fella was really just a normal person from Tianjing, without any clan or influence to rely upon. Such a person should be displaying a yearning or desire to stand out in this scenario, yet none of this was present on Wang Zhong.

To be frank, it was extremely hard for an unambitious person to become strong, especially if they were a captain. With his current age he shouldn't be able to hide his ambition and thoughts so deeply. As such, his current display simply showed his disregard for everyone present.

But the information given also detailed Wang Zhong's expertise in commanding and providing support. He had become captain due to his theoretical knowledge and eye for the situation rather than his personal combat strength. All of this was information displayed without omission from the data taken of Tianjing's match with Adolf.

If it hadn't been for the incident on the third floor, Laura would've believed such a person wouldn't be able to evade her Bear Rules The World... especially after being stunned by her good looks!

Could it be that she lacked charm? This was something Laura wasn't willing to believe!

So, luck?

Frankly speaking, Laura didn't know what to believe in.

If Wang Zhong really was that 'King invincible beneath the heavens' within the OP, then there would be no meaning for him to get close to Calderon. If he wished, he simply needed to show a bit of his identity within the OP and at least half the Ten Great Clans of the Federation might immediately extend olive branches to him. Therefore, such a display by him now fell within logical boundaries.

Regardless of how deep he hid, so long as Wang Zhong was in Copperfield she would be able to break this mystery!

After the other eight captains more or less finished their self-introductions, Wang Zhong walked forward and planned to give his self-introduction to everyone. From the looks of it he just appeared to move with the flor. Before he could open his mouth and speak, however, from right behind him appeared Sully who suddenly shoved his head forward to interrupt, "Excuse me, excuse me!"