Everyone knew how classy an A16 Manor banquet held by Ji Bonong could be. Those that could gain an invite were definitely not nobodies.
These banquets were regarded as the gateway to enter Norzin’s top circles and a path to a higher status. Rumor had it that many had risen through the ranks after attending such banquets. Thus, it was only naturally for anyone capable of being invited to feel proud.
In other words, the most important aspect of this banquet was the networking between guests. So why would this person be so vague about his own identity?
This was the reason Fitch was convinced the man standing before him was a fraud.
Of course, that was only one of the major reasons. Beyond that, there were still many others.
It was unlikely that this guy might be a big shot that was trying to keep his identity a secret. As if just saying some vague words and having an invitation made one a big shot.
And the most concrete proof, according to Fitch, was the suit his counterpart wore.
The self-proclaimed ordinary bookstore owner in front of him was wearing a formal suit that had already become outdated last year. The cost of this suit was five hundred dollars, and that had been the price from two years ago. Assuming that this was newly bought, it probably had a price reduction of at least 30%.
And why would a drifter like Fitch know all of this so well?
It was because he had performed in the aisles of malls for years when he drifted about in the past. Every time the few spectators dispersed and he put away the violin case which had garnered coins and some small bills, Fitch would always stop at the windows of clothing stores and look on enviously.
He would judge the strengths and weaknesses of those clothes, imagine how he would look if he put them on, and how gazes of others would change if they saw him in these clothes…
But eventually, upon seeing the price tag and the thought of the money he had in his pockets, Fitch would end up leaving dejectedly.
Fitch wandered through the years, day after day, gradually getting a sense of the price changes, the fashion trends, and even the sales methods.
In short, he couldn’t be wrong when it came to this.
Thus, the question was, could it be possible for a big shot to wear such cheap clothes to this classy banquet in a bid to deliberately hide his identity yet expose himself by revealing such a conspicuous invitation?
Clearly, it didn’t make sense!
Therefore, it pointed to only one thing.
He wasn’t just a fraud but an audacious one who dared to try and deceive the president of Rolle Resource Development!
How would he try to do so?
Simple. Just like how Fitch had initially reacted, one would be taken aback by the ‘high-end’ invitation produced by him. Then, given the counterpart’s natural response, Fitch had immediately assumed that this was someone important. Thus, because of his psychological inertia, Fitch started to assume that everything this person said or did had a much deeper meaning.
Fitch had crossed paths with all sorts of liars during his wanderings, and similar tactics were not unheard of.
He boldly assumed that this conman’s thought process was to first find a guest who didn’t look like a ‘high-class’ person. Then, using the aforementioned method, he would get this guest to believe that he too was a fellow guest coming for the banquet.
Thus, this person would become a tool in the subsequent fraud by proving his identity in reverse. This way, he would be able to deceive the doorman and finally sneak into the banquet.
And because Ji Bonong was well-known to welcome talents from all sorts of fields, this fellow might not actually be chased away and become a guest that is a ‘top talent in the field of fraud.’
It had to be said that this is well thought out.
Unfortunately… This guy has met a wiser version of himself.
Fitch felt as if he'd completely seen through the man's intentions. He could already imagine the look on the man's face when he didn't cooperate afterward and instead exposed his lies. Fitch couldn't help but smile and nearly let out a laugh.
Lin Jie eyed the guest who was walking beside him. This young violinist seemed to be a peculiar fellow that became immersed in his own world way too easily.
Lin Jie had come across such students when he was a lecturer.
Lowered heads during classes as if oblivious to the world, a wooden look with blank eyes from time to time, not many friends but often smiling slightly for no reason indicating the rich emotions in their hearts…
But all these were a sign of mental disabilities. In Lin Jie's opinion, such students were usually simpler and more honest, and led simpler and happier lives.
Fitch is probably just like that too, huh? Perhaps with a tough life on top of that…
Lin Jie nodded to himself as he eyed Fitch’s ill-fitting clothes. He’s surely got quite some musical talent to be invited to such a banquet.
He wasn’t a cheater after all who relied on her relationship with Miss Ji to be here.
Thus, the two of them walked to the manor’s entrance in this somewhat strangely harmonious atmosphere.
Currently, more guests were starting to show up at the wide road leading up to the manor. Chauffeurs in neat suits held the car doors open as they emerged, dressed swankily, with alluring female companions on their arm, or were dazzling beauties themselves.
Every one of them strode confidently to the doorman and handed over their invitations.
Mhmm… Lin Jie reckoned that even those drivers were more fitting as guests than himself.
But what did it matter?
Lin Jie was in a relaxed mood. In any case, he was here to be a freeloader. As long as he just kept eating and drinking at the periphery of the party, he basically wouldn’t be bothered by others.
Though from his past experiences attending some flash academic conferences, he would still have people looking for him even if he stayed on the fringes.
However, that had been the halo effect of being an associate professor as well as his identity as Lin Minghai’s son. But now, he was at most just a good friend of Young Miss Ji, so it shouldn’t be so bad.
"Your invitation, please." The doorman held his hand out politely.
Fitch was slightly closer. He raised his invitation up, displaying it for a second before placing it in the doorman’s hand with great care.
The doorman was well trained and maintained a polite smile throughout. He checked the invitation, then and said warmly. "Welcome to A16 Manor, Mr. Houston Fitch. Good luck."
At once, some people that were nearby turned to survey Fitch curiously and started to talk among themselves quietly.
Fitch probably enjoyed being the center of attention. He cleared his throat, straightened his lapels with his head held high, and took back his invitation. Then, he stepped aside and looked toward Lin Jie awaiting the good show that was about to begin.
Naturally, Lin Jie took out his own invitation.
Although it was not quite the same as other people's invitations, this had been given to him personally by Miss Ji so it could not be fake.
There was a subtle change in the doorman’s expression when he saw the invitation, but he quickly returned back to the status quo. He took the invitation, checked it carefully, and even took out a special illumination device from his pocket.
Those in the area that had been turned to look at Fitch upon hearing his name were now gradually drawn to this scene. They were intrigued and the muted discussion started to ramp up.
Apparently, they'd never seen anyone stay at the entrance so long because of an invitation as well.
Fitch stood nonchalantly with his hands behind his back, waiting for the scene he'd imagined to appear.
Next, this guy is definitely going to be questioned. Then he would drag me to attest his identity. When that happens… hehehe.
Fitch's lips curled into a strange smile again, and he watched the doorman's every move with great concentration, afraid to miss the perfect moment.
However, after the doorman checked it several times over, he withdrew the instrument and revealed a smile that was no different from before. With a slight bow, the doorman greeted, “Welcome to A16 Manor, Mr. Lin Jie, I hope you have a pleasant three days here.”
Fitch's smile froze. He looked like he'd seen a ghost.
H-How? Could this invitation be… N-No, it cannot be real. How can the wise Houston Fitch be wrong!
The same sort of confusion appeared on the faces of those around, and the focus of the discussion gradually shifted. More and more people noticed this and asked others what had happened.
Fitch suddenly felt his face burning as if the crowd was laughing at him. The shame he felt for being a smart-ass gradually turned to anger.
No, it can't be… I’m surely right!
The look in Fitch’s eyes suddenly changed. His blue eyes became cloudy as he fixed a stare at the doorman, who still handed back the invitation.
Identify… yourself as a fake right now!
Fitch cried out in his heart — even though he appeared to be nothing more than a wandering fiddler, he previously learned a lot about the existence of certain groups through some shady channels and had taken enormous risks to acquire the power to manipulate minds.
This was an important reason why Houston Fitch, the Wandering Genius, had made his name.
He had relied on mind manipulation to win at the entrance of the Golden Orchestra Hall.
The real reason he had come to the banquet was because he heard that there would be quite a number of transcendent beings attending the party. Therefore, he wanted to seek a breakthrough and enter the world of transcendents.
Only that would be a true class change.
But having activated his ability, Fitch didn’t get a response as quickly as he usually did.
The doorman handed the invitation back without so much as a pause. Lin Jie smiled, took it, and made his way to Fitch.
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Everything went smoothly and nothing happened.
There would be transcendent beings at the banquet —No way… Fitch's mind went blank as he stared dumbstruck at the approaching Lin Jie.
Suddenly Fitch felt an inexplicable sensation of wanting to run away.
Lin Jie shot him a quizzical look. "Come on. It's time to attend the banquet. Why are you still standing there in a daze?"
Turning back to glance at the doorman and with his back to the brightly lit manor, Lin Jie’s shadowed profile was half smiling. “He won't give you a second look no matter how hard you stare at him.”