Chapter 96 – Pitching A Theory

The audience appeared shocked about the results, it was an unexpected outcome to the crowd as Dragon’s Lair had been the most superior school considering the combat section of the Alliance Tournament.

However, rather than being dissatisfied about the results everyone was filled with joy. This was a sign of a new era. For hundreds of years, Dragon’s Lair had been extremely arrogant. To them, winning was as natural as breathing all they had to do was wait for 40 minutes until the restriction was off before they can wreck their opponents by turning into dragons. In their human forms their strength was comparable to demons, but once transformed, their classification changes despite having the same level.

The level of arrogance for the last few years had been incredibly extreme. Dragon’s Lair was known to have powerful students, yet they started to use candidates from their allied schools in their team composition as a handicap. This act gave other schools a better chance for victory. It also made their opponents more fired up.

The previous year, in particular, was quite a fantastic year. When Heavenly Sanctuary raided Dragon’s Lair base within the first 15 minutes, the audience all thought the match was going to be over. They were all proven wrong when Athos managed to survive against the onslaught from his opponent’s attack until he was able to use his ability to transform. With a single roar, he decimated the opponents who managed to reach the throne room.

Valerie, on the other hand, used the typical stalling strategy that her predecessors had used and found successful, only for her arrogance to cause her downfall.

When they used to have a team of just dragons they had respected each other and believed in one another. Once the implementation of using other candidates from different schools came, the dragonkin naturally took the lead over the less dominant species. Valerie had sacrificed every single one of her comrades treating them like raid bosses who helped power up the hero as entertainment. If she hadn’t done so and implemented more traps into the system, she could have won this match.

Valerie sat down in a corner depressed after the match, in an empty waiting room she began to tear up while the listening to cheers of the crowd screamed “Nexus,” over and over again.

She had ruined a record that had lasted for centuries. Although they didn’t say it out loud, the other members of her race looked down upon her, and at the same time sympathizing with her. Every citizen was so used to winning to the point where they had forgotten about the possibility of defeat. As a matter of fact, many regarded this as a good lesson to never underestimate their opponent and to work together as a team.

Valerie was born with a silvers spoon in her mouth, many servants to attend to her needs, and many siblings to play with. She grew up without learning how to respect others and lived a life of pure self-satisfaction with the exception for her brother, Athos, who she deeply admires. Athos walked into the dark room turned on the lights and noticed that despite being on there was still a dark corner in the room. He walked up to Valerie who sulked in the corner and sighed. He said, “Not everyone can win at everything in life.”

Sensing his presence her ears perked up to the remark, yet she merely responded by turning around and faced the corner. Athos thought, ‘This lass becomes more troublesome every year…’

Due to their parent’s lack of presence and supported by many maids and butlers, the two of them became extremely arrogant and narcissistic. Athos had recognized this wrong-doings only last year when his team was almost eliminated due to his misinterpretation of how strong the other races were.

War isn’t won by oneself. He had heard the ancient saying many times, before his match, he never thought about it before and even after his match. Although Athos considered it, he didn’t take it seriously. Only after Valerie’s match did he realized the truth. A battle could be won by one person, but a multitude of battles requires the combined effort of many people. Luon recognized this value ages ago, especially during his second simulation.

Athos slowly articulated his thoughts about how battles should be fought to Valerie and after the end of his sermon, he said, “Don’t worry about it too much, the pride of dragon can only be shattered by the tears of their companion. Become wiser, stronger, learn from your mistakes so you can never cry again.”

Valerie looked back slightly, her brother’s words had touched her, but she still felt unwilling. That is until Athos finished it off as he said, “And besides, the match isn’t entirely over yet.”

Her eyes brighten as she realized what he was talking about, the Alliance Tournament was judged in two sections, although the first segment was more interesting than the other, they were worth the same. There was still a way to make a comeback. The creative engineering aspect of the tournament had just started.

As the crowd sang fanfares of the victory, the announcer managed to get the second segment of the tournament arranged. Although there were many dissatisfied voices, the raving atmosphere kept those in line.

The task that Luon and others had to do was over. The engineering aspect of the tournament was done by a group of post-graduate senior students that work at Novera Corporation. The conditions were still the same, as long as they were under 22 and were students under their indicated school, they were allowed to participate. The selection for their team was made by Novera Corporation’s internal staff, they were judged on their competency, ability to work, presentation skills, and ability to debate.

This portion of the tournament was relatively quick, once the announcer reveals the topic, the 16 teams would create a proposal for a solution to the problem. There were some times where there was no real winner as the problem was never solved or the answers were rather lackluster. At that point, there was a vote on who had the best proposal, and the rankings would be arranged by a series of professional experts from different solar systems.

There might have been some biased opinions, but most of the time it was entirely fair, which is where the debating portion came into play. No matter how great the idea is if nobody were buying it wouldn’t matter in the first place.

Besides Luon, Shizuka, and Thomas, everyone from their team decided to leave early and celebrate their victory. Nexus University was known to get within the top 4 positions, many times have they had obtained first place which is why most of them decided not to watch the second segment.

The majority of the time in the second segment was used to debate values after all. Not many people were interested in these concepts.

“I wonder what kind of topic will we be covering this year?” said Shizuka.

“You make it sound like you watched last years competition?” Luon asked as he recalled that this event was held at the same time as their survival camp trip.

“There are video recordings online, I’ve seen it. Anyone could have as long as they put a little bit of effort into searching for it. Don’t tell me you don’t even bother checking?” questioned Shizuka.

Luon nodded, he indeed hasn’t watched any of the videos since he was so preoccupied with other tasks. Curious, he asked Shizuka, “How do you think we’re going to do this year? You must have some inside information about the candidates right?”

“Well, supposedly it’s better than our recent years as the leader of the participants is a level 3 engineer… but to be honest I’m not sure,” said Shizuka.

“Why aren’t you sure? A level 3 engineer is already a well-accomplished position. I don’t think any other solar system has one in their roster,” said Luon as he evaluated all the contestants as they entered the venue.

“That’s not true, besides most combat oriented schools, all of the engineering-based ones have at least one level 3 engineer,” said Shizuka.

“What about Dragon’s Lair? Do they have a level 3 engineer?” Luon asked. He was worried that their first place position in the combat segment would be jeopardized if they claimed the first slot position.

“I’m not sure. Usually, Dragon’s Lair sends in a random representative and secure a nice position in the top 4, however, since they lost the combat portion of the tournament we may be seeing a higher level contestant,” Shizuka said.

“Why do you think we’re going to have some trouble despite having a level 3 engineer?” Thomas asked curiously.

Shizuka turned to Thomas as she pointed at their teams level 3 engineer. She said, “I don’t know about you, but I heard that he has some shady dealings within our company and through several connections became a level 3 engineer. It’s difficult for even my family members to deal with him since he has a lot of connections in the upper echelon.”

“Are you implying that he may be completely useless?” Luon appeared shocked as he looked at their representative.

“Not entirely, after all, how could he even become a level 2 engineer despite being claimed useless? Rumors could just be fake news for all we know. More importantly, look at Dragon’s Lair’s representatives,” said Shizuka.

Luon gazed over at Dragon’s Lair team composition and found that three of their representatives to be very familiar. In fact, they were the combatants chosen for the combat section of the tournament. The magician, the dryad and Valerie entered the venue and stopped by their division’s designated location.

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“It’s quite understandable for the magician and the dryad to be there since the study of magic and technology can pretty much go hand in hand. But Valerie is there as well… could she be an engineer?” Luon questioned as he admired her ability to take in multiple fields.

“Of course that’s not true, she’s probably there just for show and to redeem herself. It’s not like everyone on their team had to participate.” Shizuka said.

At this moment, all of the participants for the technological portion settled in, except for Alpha Hideout who didn’t even bother with showing up. The announcer then said, “The topic for this year’s creative engineering portion is: A method to improve space battles against the Inzektor race.”

“Uwah, what a troublesome topic. Is there anything one could suggest that would even best the Inzektor race?” exclaimed Thomas.

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“There isn’t much one could do,” said Shizuka.

After receiving the theme, candidates are given an hour to support their idea by physical or theoretical data. This topic was indeed a difficult one, the main factors to this are the lack of materials for spacecraft, lack of combative abilities in space, and numbers, especially numbers.

Each team began to work as many came up with some interesting ideas, however, to the judging panel they were complete trash.

Luon pondered if he ever got this question how would he go about solving it? Soon enough the brainstorming period ended, and it was time to hear each school’s pitches.

First up was Nexus, and this day marked one of the most ridiculously stupid pitches by Nexus in its entire history.

- my thoughts:
According to my calculations, if I continued with my regular pace, I still owe 2 more chapters from my exam week. I'll somehow make up for those ones later. Thanks for reading!
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