Chapter 97 – A New Way

“Shall we discuss on how we’re going to approach this topic?” said a level 2 engineer.

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“You wimp! You wish to discuss with the great Moret? You’re going over your head!” Another level 2 engineer came in knocked him onto the ground.

“Share pointers among peers? What is this kid thinking? There would be no competition if everyone had the same answers,” said another level 2 engineer.

“How impudent, a topic like space battles is an easy question to answer. I don’t even need to write down the answer since it’s all in here. Hahahaha,” said their team’s only level 3 engineer named Moret as he pointed to his forehead.

Alongside him were several other bootlickers who began to laugh. The first level 2 engineer felt dissatisfied, as he gazed at the “so-called” level 3 engineer on their team. The two had been rivals for ages if it wasn’t for the fact that his opponent had deeply ingrained connections with Novera Corporations higher-ups, he would have been long promoted already. The man stole what was rightfully his because of his family background.

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Despite being trained by the system, there were many flaws to the hierarchical way jobs were implemented. Without connections, one could barely get to do anything with just relying on credentials, but there was one thing that overruled both connections and credentials, and that’s war merits. Fighting against the Inzektor race was the number one way to obtain power within every solar system in the Alliance as these soldiers were highly respected regardless of status.

A prominent figure would obtain many resources, power, and fame as they were heavily supported by the government to fight Inzektors. The only downside to that was that those beings are rather free-willed and tend to abandon their duties and indulge into the endless pleasures that humanity has to offer.

The level 2 engineer got up and stepped out of the ring as he didn’t want to get involved in this. Seeing him leave, Moret smirked as he began to pull some paper out.

The other engineers gathered around as they knew his intention. One of them asked, “Moret, is it the same as usual.”

Moret gave him an eye and smiled as he said, “Almost the same. Okay guys same thing as always, you make a design, concept or theory and hand it to me. The only difference is that the best one will receive a warm reception by my house. Don’t forget to make a script for me to say.”

“Yes!” they all excitedly proclaimed. Getting promoted to the Long household which was in the upper echelon of Novera Corporation had been the recent goal of most engineers. The Ichihara family despite being the head had slowly lost its influence through the many years as they focused on fostering expert-level engineers while neglecting the other ones. On the other hand, the Long family had managed to pull in all the commoners and concentrate on expanding its influence to the point where even the Ichihara family has problems dealing with them.

‘Gifted child my arse, I’ll show you old fogeys who the gifted one is,’ thought Moret. Sure enough after a few minutes later a giant amount of proposals appeared before him. Using the knowledge he knew about he found one he thought would be perfect to the problem and told the rest of his teammates to create some items that would support the theory.

Luon looked at Valerie and was surprised that she was doing well despite losing the match of the century. Once the day was over unless Dragon’s Lair can take first in the creative engineering, then Nexus University would be able to climb to the top for the first time. That moment was what everyone was heavily anticipating.

Everyone except for Luon that was as he felt a weird premonition that it wasn’t going to be easy. He couldn’t help but stare at Valerie thinking about what she was up, and as he continued to do so, Shizuka noticed his particular state and her eyes saw what he was looking at.

‘Does he like that kind of girl?’ Shizuka thought as she concluded her figure had seduced Luon. A mature older women type of beauty with a well-shaped body, she couldn’t help but compare it with herself who was naturally slim, pretty darn thin.

For some reason, it irritated her, the way Luon looked at their opponent was pure, without lust, desire, or anything alike. She didn’t know how to answer these feelings as she always had focused on engineering. She thought the saying that a man would look his best when focused on a task was a hoax of a quote, but she couldn’t help but think otherwise.

As Luon pondered while staring at their team, he couldn’t help but noticed the dryad and magician collaborating with a document in front of them. As Luon inched closer to see what it was Shizuka thought that he wanted to have a closer look at Valerie and became jealous, she took the opportunity to smack Luon’s back which was already moving forward. The momentum knocked him off his feet as he face-planted into the ground.

Shizuka was surprised at how much damage was done but hid it well under her expressionless face. The deed was done, after all, there was no point of making a fuss over it.

“What was that for?” Luon asked slightly mad from the damage he had received.

Shizuka coolly played it off as she said, “Just a light tap on the back. What? The worse you could get is just some mental damage, everything’s artificial anyways.”

Dissatisfied Luon sat back down on his chair as mumbling to himself at how unfairly he had just been treated. However, these negative feelings vanished when the announcer declared that the brainstorming period was now over.

Luon and Shizuka both focused on the screen where they saw Moret Long stand and was about to present.

His pitch, at first was quite interesting for many but half-way through the speech one could see his lack of knowledge and ability to generate a solid argument off his topic.

To eliminate the Inzektor race, humans, elves and the other members of the Alliance had to travel into space and destroy their enemies. The worse thing was that traveling in space wasn’t as easy as it seemed and the wars as well. Inzektors, for some odd reason, could go into space naturally with the evolution of a carrier like being and other weird genetic mutations.

If the Alliance had better space equipment, they might be able to make more progress in the war, but the Inzektors had long destroyed the facility in where they developed and researched it. With the destruction of the facility progress that the Alliance had made was sent back nearly a hundred more years.

What Moret pitched was something along the lines of improving our spaceship equipment which was a great idea except for the fact he didn’t know what to improve on the current designs. The primary factor in spacecraft engineering was to have metal parts. Due to its limitations can only so many can be produced every year due to lack of resources.

Moret’s pitch added nothing to the table as it merely addresses the need for intergalactic space travel.

With the poor results, he sat back down where his group was and prayed that Nexus would do better than Dragon’s Lair.

Soon, each team came to the stage and presented their findings and ideas. There were a few interesting ones like to create a virtual battle setting have pilots to train harder. Another idea was to have them scavenge materials from fallen planets.

When Dragon’s lair arrived at the stage, the crowd waited for them to shoot out their proposal. If they could obtain the top position then they would be back at the top once again, the only person that could beat them was Nexus, but with them removed, all they had to do is obtain a position above theirs which wasn’t hard to do since Nexus University messed it up.

Valerie stood before the crowd and presented her team’s idea. As she began to talk, Luon finally figured out why Valerie was there. She wanted to make amends for her mistake, and she must have arranged it so that it could display her scholarly side, this may have been intentional propaganda; by losing in the combat segment and rejoining the engineering portion.

Luon didn’t know the answer as he continued to stare at Valerie thinking what was on her mind. Moments before she finished her speech Luon found himself shocked by what their opponents were pitching. It hits hard as if he had just been smacked by Shizuka in the back, which she had just done it again when she saw Luon staring at Valerie once more.

Their thesis was to use organic materials as a catalyst for space resistant materials. Using regular pieces of wood for construction spaceships? The way they said it makes it seem like black magic, in a non-literal way. At this point, many other groups began to point out the flaws of this argument, and a huge debate occurred.

Leading the group of disbelievers, Moret proclaimed that it isn’t possible to use wood for space travel. From Valerie’s side, she pointed out that these pieces of wood aren’t just usual pieces of wood, in fact, these are wood specially manufactured after studying a living Inzektor carrier. They continued to dissect and it and forced it to regenerate its injuries to the point where they managed to make some progress.

For the next couple of year or so they plan to implement them into military service. At first, these wooden spaceships would be piloted by plants by having the dryads manipulate their maneuvers using signals coming from the communication device. In the end, they might have an army similar to what the Inzektors may have.

This series of information shocked the crowd. Dragon’s Lair’s topic wasn’t a proposal. It was rather a statement and a showcase of Dragon’s Lair strength. Everything was perfectly aligned, their defeat which led to the attraction of many members of the audience, and this new type of technology was just like the icing on the cake, simply unreal.

Moret tried to counteract her statements, but with the supporting evidence behind her, Valerie stood undaunted as she answers all of his “concerns.” Luon thought that this idea was without a doubt one that may change the tide to the war. Inzektors live and grow to fight and devour everything, and if they were to survive against a war, they would continue to rise to the point where they become unbeatable.

Before they knew it, one person started to clap their hands, then other members of the audience followed suit. Cheers emerged as it was obvious to see who the winner of the tournament was.

Luon sighed, the tournament was over, and Dragon’s Lair returned to the top like a king returning from the battlefield.

Their final placement was third.

Everything that had happened in the last week felt unreal. Luon felt entirely out of tune, as his sense of time became distorted. From the intense battles and training inside the Vortex Containers to the casual everyday life outside of it. Luon couldn’t help but feel weird as he began to eat his dinner on the spaceship that was heading home.

Just what was he out here to accomplish? He earned a decent ranking and a small portion of Galaxia coins from the government, enough money to not work at a minimum wage job for about ten years.

Time was a fickle thing, After his awakening, he had somehow risen his combat level to 67 and fought against a being at level 85 where he truly learned what being powerless truly meant. The figure of Valerie’s golden dragon form loomed over his mind. She was able to eliminate a battalion by herself.

‘Would I be able to do that?’ Although he may be able to last enough to take them all out, he wouldn’t come out of it unscathed, and it may take several times longer than what she would have done.

Slowly Luon was growing out of his NG-Arms as he was already accustomed to the speed. His physical body was soon catching up to what it could provide him.

At this moment Arisa came and asked to sit in front of Luon who was eating alone.

Luon wondered what was up, but the two merely ate in silence. Just when Luon was about to finish his meal, Arisa said, “Thanks, you helped me out.”

Luon only nodded as he knew what she meant. Not only did he beat Lemegeton, but Thanatos had turned him into a cripple, thus causing their team to drop to fourth. The sea princess took the third place, but after the creative engineering portion, rose to the second place. It was ironic that all their efforts caused them to settle for third in the end, although the headmaster was quite happy for it.

The two became quiet once more, Luon wasn’t a talkative person, so it was quite reasonable, and Arisa didn’t know what to say, it was all a new experience for her since she had never experienced this once in her simulated lifetime. Before they could exchange a few more words, they heard someone say, “Why aren’t you two close, eating dinner like this?”

The two turned only to find Helen clinging next to Captain Waver who desperately looked at Luon for help. However, Luon who had noticed this simply packed away his food and escaped the room as fast as possible. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to help him, it was just that even though Helen had said some casual words, her eyes didn’t say the same. To him, it was a short, recognizable message of telling him to get out. Luon inwardly decided to avoid girls after this incident.

Arisa who saw Luon escape felt that it was meaningless to stay any further, she got up and began to pack her food. Just as she about to leave, Helen who had managed to chain Captain Waver to the table walked up to her and whispered a few words in her ears. Arisa blushed upon her remark and quickly left the room. Captain Waver simply thought, ‘Ah, s***.’

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