Uncrowned kings are known as such for a reason, they have an ability that others envy to the point of destruction. Luon spent his third year as such.
The ultimate goal of being a third-year student was to get a job as an engineer, commander, or soldier on the frontlines. The Nexus solar system had always welcomed extra soldiers, but not all of them were needed. The act of joining the military or any of the big families was optional.
Luon was unable to attain any engineer or combat-related courses due to the suppression that the Mythos Clan and Novera Corporation had on him, and to his ignorant peers, a rumor had spread that he decided not to choose anything because he couldn’t care less about those kinds of courses.
Some people knew what was going on behind the scenes but decided to step back and not come to his aid. After all, one of the big families decided to take action, for the typical student what could they do to help? And If they did, they might face their wrath. Another reason was that Luon was a competitor, the job market is a limited one. There could only be so many soldiers, engineers and commanders hired every year. No one wanted to help someone that may end up taking their job opening seat.
Gizmo, Tyron, Bendan, and Thomas wanted to help Luon out, but he denied them outright. Luon was afraid that if they were to continue to hang out with him something terrible might happen to them or their families. He had cut the ties and drew a border around himself to protect not only himself, but the others around him, and the others had understood his intentions.
Luon spent the majority of his time training his body and sword skills under the instruction of Thanatos and engineering taught by Zekar at the shop. The two of them had taught Luon material beyond the school’s curriculum since it was tailored to the general masses. A lesson exclusively for him by the best teachers possible, if one had a teacher like that for a lifetime, how fortunate would that be? It was a blessing in disguise.
As Luon continued to practice his Circuit Establishment technique that he derived from the Asura book, Thanatos gave him some extra instructions to improve it. The effects? His body grew even colder, and the aura he had emitted could chill the air around him. He developed an ability called Mana Drain which allowed him to absorb the mana in the air as if he was drinking water.
Zekar was quite enthusiastic about teaching Thomas and Luon how to create a personal spaceship, after entering the military the combatants were given a standardized Dael ship to fight the Inzektor race. Zekar told Luon not to rely on it too much because the prominent families are watching out for him if he were to join the military. For all he knows, they could rig it to explode midway.
Luon didn’t mind creating a personalized ship, rather he enjoyed doing it. From the complicated reactor core to the frame and designs of the ship, it was all unique to him. Thomas couldn’t help but pour all his soul into his own ship. Although he didn’t need it as an engineer, he liked the concept of building one.
It was a long project, but with his course load to turn out less than what he had expected, Luon estimates that it would be done sometime before he graduates. To make more time for himself, Luon dropped some of his higher course load classes that had no real significance like history and replaced it with some more straightforward and quick courses.
“So why are you here?” Luon asked as he sighed, and with a flip of his hand, an appealing scent scattered about.
“I came to see you aren’t you glad to see me? Unless you want to end up being a lone wolf like what everyone else proclaims yourself to be,” said Arisa.
“Iag carthm do see doo too (I came to see you too),” Belle said.
Her words irritated Luon as she was stuffing her face down on the tofu hamburgers that he was making for the cooking class that the headmaster taught. To maximize his time efficiency with his training and to pass school at the same time, he had asked the headmaster for an easy course wherein he recommended his cooking classes.
Luon agreed to join them under the condition that it would be easy and quick, so it was arranged that all Luon had to do was watch a video demonstration by the headmaster on a different meal every week and demonstrate it in class once for a grading. With Luon’s expert level of understanding and keen senses for cooking. His dexterous hands created a series of tasty dishes to pass the course, however, in exchange he had attracted a few interested misfits. Arisa who had heard that Luon was cooking came to eat alongside with Belle.
Luon wasn’t worried that Novera Corporation or the Mythos Clan would make a move on the two with their family background, the presence of the two was entirely welcomed.
However, Luon was curious. Arisa at this point should have known how her father had died and yet she was here eating as if it was nothing. From the story he heard from Zekar, Arisa’s mother should have hated him to the bone. He couldn’t help but ask Arisa about it which she replied, “My mother spent the first years thinking that way, a few years later, she thought she might have gone a little too far. I’m not too knowledgeable on the topic, but it came up when I mentioned you to my mother.”
“You mentioned me to your mother? Why would you want to do that? How did you even arrive at that topic?” Luon asked out of curiosity.
“Ah, haha, it was… it was because of your performance at the Alliance Tournament that she got interested in you. I think she was curious about what kind of person could live that long against a dragon. Well, you didn’t beat her, and you only got lucky with Tyron being there to win the match but your resistance was quite interesting enough for her. I think?” Arisa said as it seemed to Luon that she wanted to avoid the topic.
Although Luon didn’t know what she was hiding, he decided not to probe any further as heard from Belle, “Make some more!”
Luon got irritated, the lass had already eaten 3 of them. How many tofu burgers can she eat? Is the size too small? Or was it because it was made out of tofu rather than meat? In the end, he had made 2 more before he called it quits.
As Luon was cleaning his dishes, Arisa helped on his side, Luon couldn’t help but say, “You didn’t need to help me clean the dishes. I can do it myself.”
To his remark, Arisa only said, “But I had a few myself, and I feel bad since we came mid-way to leave all of the mess to you.”
“…suit yourself,” Luon replied as he continued to wash the dishes. Unlike Arisa and Luon, Belle went home after filling her stomach up. Arisa began to hum a tune while cleaning the dishes. And after a few tunes, she stopped and said, “Hey, what are you going to do after you graduate?”
Luon replied nonchalantly as he had finally realized his goal quite recently, “I plan to join the military as a soldier.”
“Why?” Arisa became curious about what made him want to become an ordinary soldier on the frontline.
“You know what it’s like these days for people like me. Poor and helpless. Compared to the three big groups I have no particular support, no merit, and nothing that the Nexus government would want. I am just a simple being born to a fixed system that is catered to the strong, and I ain’t the only one. You know this don’t you?” Luon said.
Arisa nodded before she hesitated and said, “Then… how about you join the Nightwalker family?”
Luon stopped his hands for second before continuing to clean the dishes, he didn’t know why she would provide that offer with the way Zekar was treated by her mother. He couldn’t help but say, “It’s alright, I want to make my own group. One that isn’t restricted by wealth, or openly seeks to suppress the ability of others, rather one that would allow the Nexus solar system to prosper by exchanging values and creating an equal opportunity for everyone that joins.”
“That’s quite an admirable thought,” Arisa said with a smile on her face.
Luon couldn’t help but wryly smile at her mark as he said, “Thanks.”
The two of them continued to chat lightly until the dishes were done, there were no more serious topics rather only light and easy-going ones from that point on.
Leading a group isn’t easy, what Luon wanted the most out of the Nexus solar system was the ability to learn, live, and play without restraints. With the war, power-hungry leaders, and starving citizens, how could anyone consider it? The wings of freedom, he wanted to fly to the best of his abilities.
Time flew by, and the expectations for third-year students was to be tested and examined based on their abilities. This data would be recognized by the government and dictate their priorities to determine what kind of job they would get.
It was a month off before their final examinations, and Zekar couldn’t help but say to Luon, “Although we just finished the starship now, you aren’t authorized to use it until you get your Engineering license level 3. I have arranged for you to take the next examination which is in a few days, but what I want you to know that it isn’t going to be easy.”
“How so?” Luon asked as he felt confident about it. He had learned so much under Zekar’s tutorage so he didn’t believe he would have any troubles during the examination.
“That’s because the third examination is a competitive format to restrict the numbers of entrants trying to submit an application every year due to their lack of experience in the field. They want experts, not some layman who cheated their way to the top,” said Zekar seriously,
Zekar gave a small sigh which attracted Luon’s attention, he had only done so when something troublesome came up.
Zekar continued, “Because of the current leader of Novera Corporation is stopping you from attending engineering classes, we can expect that it’s going to be much harder for you to pass.”
Luon nodded, although he wasn’t too familiar with the new family household who was temporarily managing Novera Corporation he thought that they would more than likely do something to place him at a disadvantage. There was no way to find out what they would beforehand so Luon could assure Zekar, “I’ll do my best.”
Zekar nodded as he began to cover what kind of previous of events were used for the examination promotion that was used at Novera Corporation, and after giving Luon the basic application information, Luon realized that he only had a few days before the examination.
For the next few days, he practiced for the examination, and on the day he met a face he hadn’t seen in a long time.
“Hi,” said Luon but latter only replied with a nod. Shizuka who had been too busy with studying had appeared at the examination and to make even things worse, it wasn’t just her. There were a hundred of level 2 engineers crowding the plaza talking amongst themselves until the judge appeared and said, “For your examination you will all enter the Vortex Container and spawn on a map without any gear, your goal is to eliminate all other participants, and you will pass if you are one of the remaining 10 people left. There are a bunch of materials scattered around so make do with what you have to deal with. If you fail this examination, you can try again 6 months from now.”
The passing rate for this exam, was only 10% this year.