“To think we would be tied for first, well it could be worse. Hahaha!” said Bendan after gorging down on some delicious food on a luxury spaceship.
“Quiet down you’ll make us look like idiots you fool,” said Gizmo. Tyron nodded in response to Gizmo’s remark which made Bendan feel slightly ashamed, only a tiny bit.
The match ended uneventfully, the explosion was replayed in slow-motion to the point where the audience could see every single particle dissipate from the effect of the explosion. Since Arisa was at the core part of it, her arm was immediately disintegrated, but at the same time freed her from Thomas’ grasp. Since she was already leaning back, she managed to squeeze in a few extra centimeters reaching the same amount of distance away from Thomas as Luon was.
Many students debated whether or not Team Ascension or Team Girl’s Union should be ranked first. When the debates became more heated the headmaster intervened and stated that they were both tied for first, the placement rankings at the top 3 didn’t matter to him as the Alliance tournament was more important.
After their match was the battle for the third-ranked placement and to no surprise, Zythos managed to obtain it. The gloating face he had after he won irked Luon, but he couldn’t do anything about it.
After a week and a half of rest and recuperation, the three teams departed the Nexus solar system on a luxury cruise under the supervision of the headmaster whose name was Thorian, Captain Waver who was placed as their coach, and Helen who was his assistant.
It was quite understandable why these two were in charge of their supervision, after all, they were their teachers before the qualifiers. What truly surprised everyone was Team Warbeast team composition. Instead of his previous teammates which included Chester, the Tiger beastmen and the other two beastmen, they were replaced with Janet from Team Diva, Qi Ren from Team Delta C Plus, the orc shaman named Ashgro from Team Pride, and the team captain of Team G2 whose name was Naiz, and ranked 4th in the qualifiers.
Although Luon and Arisa’s team could have gotten substitutes from the other teams as they were allowed to, they didn’t want to replace their current members that they were emotionally tied with. Zythos, on the other hand, didn’t care at all and recruited these members on his team for the Alliance Tournament.
When they all arrived and greeted each other during the departure of the luxury spaceship they all glared at Luon causing him to feel the chill behind their look. What was more troublesome was that after Luon and Arisa’s team got on the ship, Zythos argued with the headmaster to bring Chester and a few more ‘attendants’ to come and aid him. Helpless since it wasn’t initially planned he agreed as long as Zythos paid more money for the hospitality fees per person.
The most despicable part about him was that instead of paying for it himself he nudged Chester to make the payment from his own pockets. When they got on the ship, they separated almost immediately, but Luon managed to pull Janet aside to ask her why she bothered participating under Zythos’ team.
She merely replied, “It’s a big chance to get my name out in the universe! How could I miss it? The other girls even supported me, and we’re going to have a big concert once all of this is over. Ticket sales would be booming, booming you hear me? Anyways don’t bother me, someone who would willingly shoot girls in the face and with swing a sword with a poor sense of swordsmanship should go spend more time training.”
After her rude remark, Luon had spent the entire trip training inside of his Vortex Container. It wasn’t because her words hurt him to the point of seclusion, it was because she was right about it. Initially, he was just a layman engineer with inherited memories of the sword skills he learned during the second simulation. Only recently did he managed to obtain some enlightenment to create his own style of fighting. Which is why Luon spent the entire time training, he fought simulated versions of previous opponents quite a bit but fought against himself most of the time. Seeing his own movements, and weak points alike he was able to perfect his sword skills and combinations slowly.
Although Luon’s actions were completely understandable, he left the crew to their own devices, this was a team match after all, and one person doesn’t decide the outcome by himself.
Just as Gizmo was about to say something else, he couldn’t help but notice a dark and gloomy corner at their table, Thomas was depressingly muttering a series of words which reminded Gizmo of those crazed stalkers who were jealous of their love rivals.
He was emotionally hung over the last segment where he blew himself up together, Luon and Arisa. Regretful of how he wasn’t able to subdue her despite having her in his grasp, thus losing the game for his team.
Gizmo couldn’t help but sigh, he looked over this rough bunch of teammates once more and thought to himself, “Man do we honestly have a good team?”
“Of course we do, HAHAHA. We’re tied for first after all!” said Bendan.
Gizmo facepalmed and thought to himself, ‘Great… I’m actually muttering my thoughts. I’m losing my sanity by the minute! Luon come and save our team!’
With a laughing madman, a helplessly quiet and not so helpful teammate, and one who looks like he’s seen the ends of the earth Gizmo prayed for his savior to come back to get this group of misfits together.
“Haa! Take this!” Luon yelled as he slashed at the familiar figure before him. Numerous days had passed since the start of his training, without a proper grasp of time he continued to fight for every moment he could to properly create a foundation for his sword skills.
He would spend 90% of the entire day fighting carbon copies of himself and previous opponents and managed to obtain some progress. What drove him on to fight even harder was that the other day when he exited his Vortex Container, he found Chester down the hall like a servant preparing meals for his master. Luon couldn’t help to ask him why did he serve that jerk Zythos with so much dedication despite being treated like trash, in which the lather wryly smiled and said, “Unlike all you powerful people, you don’t understand what weak people like me think about things. Looking at the big picture there’s no place in this universe for us, we could only cower and obey the strong so we can step over those who are weaker. Only with strength can people listen to others.”
“Then why don’t you follow me?” replied Luon subconsciously, his response made Chester laugh. Chester couldn’t help but say, “You? Do you honestly think you’re strong? Your only a little dot in the middle of this universe, strength isn’t just equal to your prowess, true strength comes from many different shapes and sizes, and I feel that your too ignorant to know of it.”
With that remark, he left Luon dumbfounded in the middle of the halls. As he returned to his room and sat within the Vortex Container, he thought about his words once again. Where does true strength lie? What’s the point of being strong? He only had to be strong enough to protect his loved ones, but is that what true strength is?
Luon still didn’t know this answer, he only continued to train his sword skills despite all of this. Training calmed his nerves, and the results made him feel positive about himself. Humans all think the same way, having results brings them joy.
He reflected over his previous battles at school, engineering-wise he was on par with Shizuka, although his robots had been triumphant over Shizuka during the battle against each other, she made it up with more numbers. Luon’s strategy of using humans to remotely pilot robots was limited to how many humans he made, so it was pointless to mass produce them. Because of his ignorance, Arisa managed to disable his ability to summon things from the Crypt Of Heroes freely, and at that point, he was practically checkmated.
Thinking about his sword skills and comparing to Janet and Arisa he was sub-par, he never had a proper teacher, if anything it was only himself. Janet learned from a famous swordmaster while Arisa studied under families tutelage. A normal guy like him would almost never have the opportunity. If there were no path to walk on, he would just have to cut his own way.
Luon swung his sword once more as his mind flashed back to the shadowy figure of a man wielding two swords training under a waterfall. Luon stared at his moves but shook his head, for one he could barely understand the meaning behind each movement, the other it pointless effort to do so. Instead, he looked at the set of moves and was inspired to create his own.
As an engineer, he loved to create things, to do it yourself was one of his favorite mottos to live by. The man swung and performed a move, and Luon did something similar yet uniquely different. Slowly his movements became faster, and his performance greatly improved. Instead of being tools used to reap blood and death upon his foes, they were like partners or his own arm himself.
Luon had reached an entirely new state, no longer following after the black swordsman, he created his own set of performance. A bird will eventually grow wings and fly beyond its boundaries, but learning how to fly is a hardship within itself.
Conjuring another version himself they fought, and he stumbled, he reflected over his flaws and started again once more.
He fought, tumbled, got up and fought once more, this cycle of training continued on and the number of times he fell lessened. With every single flaw, he developed a solution with every single solution a new flaw was made. Although this process was endless, it still perfected his craft even more.
Eventually, Luon managed to defeat himself once, he panted in exhaustion and pondered over the battle. Luon pondered and reflected when he lost, and he did so when he won. Luon was continually improving and the number of times he won significantly increased. He changed his opponents from himself to Zythos than Ashgro, Janet and finally Arisa. Luon had lost many battles and won many times more after he was satisfied with battling against Arisa he wanted something new, something fierce.
Before Luon’s eyes was a dragon, not a fierce ancient dragon but a young dragonkin. His limbs resembled a human if it weren’t for the scarlet scales it had on him. The young dragonkin arrogantly gazed over Luon and pulled out a set of swords out.
Before they got on the ship the headmaster had briefly described their future opponents to them, from the weakest teams to the strongest there was a myriad of creatures to watch out for. And before Luon eyes were one of the strongest members that participated last year, from Dragon’s Lair, the undefeated battle academy since the beginning of the Alliance Tournament, the 507th generation imperial prince, Athos Dragsteel.