The battle that Kyle and Steve fought to rescue the hostages ended in a resounding victory.
After submitting the battle report and intelligence map to General Brandt, Kyle didn’t have time to personally verify his military accomplishments. He quickly changed into a formal dress shirt and joined Howard, Agent Carter, and the others.
After all, before the hostage rescue, Howard had promised to treat them to a cheese hot pot, and Kyle couldn’t let him off the hook so easily.
Knowing Howard’s wealth and sophistication, they knew they were in for a special experience. The group boarded a Stark plane that day and headed to the nearest city for a banquet and dinner.
Howard, being the man of means that he was, had selected an extraordinary venue for the occasion.
The hotel entrance was adorned with dazzling golden lights, and a clean red carpet covered the floor. Security personnel dressed as gentlemen in suits greeted them, while attractive receptionists in short skirts welcomed them with charming smiles on their faces.
“Howard, you really know how to live the good life,” Kyle commented, and Howard maintained a smile without responding, leading the three of them into the hotel.
Howard was clearly a regular visitor here. The receptionists didn’t even bother to check their identities. As soon as they saw Howard, they approached him to provide various VIP services.
Inside the grand hotel, the ground-floor dining hall exuded a more understated elegance. Classical chandeliers cast a warm light in the surroundings, while a violinist played in the corner, creating a pleasant ambiance.
The guests dined gracefully to the soothing music. Most of the people present were not exceptionally wealthy or noble, but they seemed detached from the worries and concerns of the ongoing war.
As Howard was about to ask the receptionist to find a table for four, Kyle interjected and requested two separate tables for two.
A smile crossed Howard’s face. “A table for two? Second Lieutenant Kyle, you understand me well. Let me have dinner with the lovely Agent Carter tonight.”
“You’re jumping to conclusions,” Kyle rolled his eyes and glanced at Agent Carter, who was seated beside Steve. Tonight, she had forsaken her military uniform.
Agent Carter wore an off-the-shoulder gown befitting the occasion. With a touch of makeup accentuating her already stunning beauty, she looked even more radiant and captivating. The perfectly fitted red dress highlighted her mature figure.
“As promised, I brought Steve back safely. I keep my word,” Kyle said to Agent Carter, not waiting for her response, and patted Steve on the shoulder. “You take Agent Carter to dinner first.”
“Ah!” Steve exclaimed in surprise, then quickly nodded. “Oh, I see.”
‘I’m giving you an opportunity, so make the most of it, buddy.’ Kyle chuckled to himself as he thought of this. He didn’t harbor any particular feelings for Agent Carter, so there was no sense of regret.
However, tonight’s purpose extended beyond a lavish dinner.
“Please follow me, gentlemen,” The receptionist spoke courteously and gestured towards the dining area, leading Steve and Agent Carter to their seats.
“Ah, so Agent Carter just left like that?” Howard’s face displayed a hint of disappointment on it as he glanced at Kyle and hesitated. “Should we, two grown men, dine together? Or should we also have a table for two?”
“Whether you want to eat or not is up to you. Honestly, I have something else to discuss with you,” Kyle shrugged.
“Something else?” Howard looked at Kyle with curiosity.
Kyle spoke with significance, “Let’s find a place to sit first, and then I’ll give you the details.”
They descended to the underground floor of the hotel.
This area had a different ambiance compared to the main dining hall. Dim lights illuminated the scene, and people of various backgrounds danced to the music, losing themselves in the moment.
The serving staff, holding wine glasses, donned revealing outfits resembling bunny maids, their exposed chests and long legs appearing quite alluring.
Howard and Kyle settled at the bar in the drinks area. Along the way, Howard even openly pinched the buttocks of a few passing bunny girls, exhibiting a blend of debauchery and gentlemanly charm.
Kyle couldn’t help but silently remark on the playboy nature of the Stark family. He ordered a glass of vodka from the bartender, while Howard opted for a cocktail.
“Well then, let’s raise our glasses and toast to World War II,” Howard elegantly raised his glass, making an unexpected statement.
Kyle looked at him with a surprised expression on his face and asked, “Are you actually happy about the war?”
“Of course. As someone who studies strategic science, deadly weapons, and cutting-edge technology, I can’t fulfill my potential without a war,” Howard replied, maintaining his smile as he looked at Kyle. “And the same goes for you. Without this war, it would have been impossible for you to rise from a new recruit to a Second Lieutenant in just a few weeks.”
“I have to admit, you have a strong sense of self-interest,” Kyle chuckled, raising his glass to clink it with Howard’s.
War had its pros and cons. It provided unprecedented opportunities for those with skills and abilities, while for those without, it was a detestable catastrophe.
Taking a sip of his drink, Howard said, “Let’s get to the point. Tell me what you want to discuss. Otherwise, I might as well go chat with the beautiful ladies.”
Kyle nodded and went straight to the point. “Alright, I’ll be direct— I want a stake in Stark Industries.”
“You want to become a partner in my company?” Howard seemed a bit surprised but he considered it and spoke. “Can you explain why?”
Kyle continued drinking and stated, “It’s simple. I believe in the inherent potential of Stark Industries. I’m convinced that it will become the top strategic and scientific manufacturing company on this planet. And most importantly, I believe in you. You’re an undeniable genius.”
“I must say, you have good judgment,” Howard responded, satisfied with the answer. He was already a genius and had enough pride to back it up.
“During the war, my focus is still on the country’s technological strategic research. Although Stark Industries hasn’t made significant progress yet, it has already achieved results in the anti-gravity project and will expand into more scientific fields in the future. If the war ends, Stark Industries will experience rapid growth!”
As Howard spoke, he looked at Kyle earnestly and said, “I don’t want to underestimate you. I’ve seen your file, and you don’t have many assets to your name. Even as a commissioned officer, your salary wouldn’t amount to much. So, how exactly do you plan to invest in Stark Industries?”
Kyle knew that his newfound friendship alone wouldn’t secure him shares in Stark Industries, so he had prepared enough leverage to discuss shares with the proud genius, Howard.
“What I’m investing isn’t money, but the future,” Kyle said as he reached into his pocket and placed a thin, rectangular device on the bar counter.
The device consisted of a nearly seamless tempered glass screen with tiny cameras embedded in it. The back was a smooth metal casing with a prominent cutout Apple logo.
Yes, it was a smartphone! An iPhone!
(End of chapter)