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"Keke, Professor Xiao Fei, you seem to have forgotten that our agreement is a restricted contract. Without our consent, you cannot enter the market." Alex smirked. Capital manipulation was a game of bigger fish eating smaller fish, and these people were completely unable to hold their own.

All who were present finally understood the reason why these two financial groups had so meekly agreed to the stock division. Clearly they had held this up their sleeve from the start.

Without a way to enter the market, deliberate pressure and false rumours from the two financial groups could force them into compliance, and OMG and Little Lucky Star would take a hit as well.

Most crucially, even if they took no offensive action, cutting the source of funding would be pressure enough. OMG and Little Lucky Star's resources in the coming phase would be like spitting into a bonfire.

Whereas the two financial groups had time and money to spare.

Those who come have no good intentions. Those who have good intentions will not come.

Xiao Fei and the rest finally understood the situation that they were in.

"Consider our conditions carefully. 50 billion is no paltry sum to you!"

Xiao Fei sat quietly for a beat. "The major shareholder is not here. Alone, I cannot speak for us."

"Keke, we'll give you a week."

Alex and Heaton were in no rush. The more this dragged out, the more pressure was on the other side. All preparations had been made, and they would soon understand what it meant to encounter walls wherever they went.

Such research tasks not only required huge amounts of funding, but needed channels and influence in various aspects. Without the option of entering the open market for funds, this task was a sitting duck.

Majority stakeholder?

No one could save them now. This was but a small project, with no guarantees of success.

 Heaton and Alex were chatting cheerfully with each other. To them, this was a holiday, and they planned to soak in the sights on Earth.

Faced with the overbearing Heaton and Alex, Xiao Fei and the rest could only hem and haw while they sought for a solution.

Heaton and Alex had already changed roles from guests to hosts and laughed carefreely as they sauntered around, while Xiao Fei and the rest could not even muster a smile.

This matter was fairly serious. Within the meeting room, Ye Bingwen, Old Yan, and Xiao Fei were in the midst of racking their brains. In the business aspect, Yan and Ye had more ideas.

OMG and Little Lucky Star were less concerned. Attracting investors and striking out on their own yielded the same possibilities of huge profits, but at the expense of equally high risk. Developing a product from theory to practical use was difficult, and to achieve commercial uptake was particularly difficult. Furthermore, to do so was to insult these two huge financial groups. If they let their stocka go, they could also earn a tidy sum through selling off their shares. Little Lucky Star had no such inclination, but for OMG, such finances would further subsequent research and promotion a long way.

Xiao Fei looked towards Ye Bingwen. Old Yan had no clear ideas, and Ye Bingwen was the best hope in the larger scheme of things.

"Xiao Fei, any thoughts?" Ye Bingwen wanted to know Xiao Fei's inclination.

"No sale. Absolutely not. Mr. Ye, do we have any other options?"

Xiao Fei was firm. It would rankle to have the fruits of their research snatched away. Even worse, once these businessmen had their hands on the technology, military, and not public, usage would be on their agenda. Even if selling brought greater profits, this was not something that Xiao Fei was willing to accept.

The purpose of this research was to improve the convenience and safety of interstellar travel, which was her future research direction.

Ye Bingwen nodded. "I understand. Given present circumstances, it seems very difficult, but we must try regardless. We must first stall for time. All they did just now was in part intimidation. If they really wanted to clean us up, they would not have bothered bandying with us. Old Yan here should be experienced in market tips and tricks."

"Haha, not so much intimidation, but they sure showed us the carrot and the stick. Ye, please help us think of something. My little brat said to follow Teacher Xiao Fei's lead in this." Old Yan laughed. He still held his cool in this matter, although the Little Lucky Star of the past could never have dreamed of being in such a titanic struggle.

"Alright. We're of the same mind then. Let me try what I can. We're sitting on a mountain of gold, and we don't have to be afraid that there won't be miners."

Outside, Yan Xiaosu and Ye Zisu were unburdened by such concerns. Yan Xiaosu was eagerly singing praises of the Wind God, to the point where Ye Zisu became a little embarrassed.

"Second Brother, that's too exaggerated. The mech actually still has many shortcomings. It needs another iteration of refinement. The performance in CT is relative to mature power. In actual usage, environmental fluctuations and operational wear will definitely lead to instability."

Ye Zisu said.

"Haha, don't be modest. I've used it too. Oh, that reminds me, why couldn't I engage the emergency energy shield? It seems like many people have the same problem too," Yan Xiaosu asked curiously. He was a mecha geek as well, and he would definitely support Ye Zisu's design wholeheartedly.

"That… was not an intentional design." Ye Zisu waved it off irritably with a bitter smile. She had no need to conceal anything from Yan Xiaosu.

Yan Xiaosu's jaw dropped. Not in the… what blasphemy was she trying to commit???

Wang Zheng was indeed about to commit blasphemy himself. Lie Xin was in front of him, looking for a private chat.

Between the two beauties in this training, Lie Xin and Meng Tian, Lie Xin's halo was a little more radiant. Her family was prestigious and she was sexy and outgoing. In comparison, Meng Tian was a little reserved and adopted a chilly manner to everyone.

"Wang Zheng, I've been wanting to talk to you for a long time." Lie Xin sized him up. After being out-maneuvered by Lear, Lie Xin's rage had cooled sufficiently.

Other people had seen the flaws in Lie Xin's leadership, but the truth was that they had been deceived by the wretched Fatty. Fatty looked like a wallflower. But if he really was a wallflower, how could someone like Lear keep him by his side? Her over-confidence had caused errors in her judgment. She had dismissed Lear from her concerns and accepted Fatty, secretly wanting to show off.

This fatty needed to be taught a lesson when the moment presented itself.

For now, she needed to turn the tables. She had no idea what Achilles was thinking, but failure was not an option for her.

Victory and defeat hinged on the events on Earth. Whoever took the Earth qualification would be unbeatable back on the main stage on Mars.

Although she was out of the running for the leader contest, it in no way meant that she could not demonstrate her own leadership skills.

"Wang Zheng, you and your friends can't beat Lear. That guy isn't just wily, his ability is on par with Achilles and mine. To beat him, we should team up. You and Zhang Runan join my team, and we'll all go to Aslan together. This lineup is definitely a force to be reckoned with!"

Lie Xin said. She truly did not want to join with Wang Zheng and Zhang Shan, and Meng Tian… was not her cup of tea either. She was truly Meng Ao's daughter, with her cold personality and similar ability. As for Zhang Shan… he was trash. His paltry displacement ability was of little use.

Wang Zheng smiled and shook his head. "We'll be fine as we are. If we don't try, who knows how the outcome will be?"

"Oh, you're pretty confident, huh." Lie Xin said mildly. "Although I've no idea where you get that confidence from, I'll only ask once. Think carefully on your answer. If you want to go to Aslan, only I can bring you there!"

Fundamentally, Lie Xin always held her head high. Even when giving her approval, she expressed it in a way as though it should be an honor that she bestowed.

Wang Zheng's smile was still firmly fixed on his face. "If there's a chance for us to battle together, that would indeed be quite an experience."

Looking at Wang Zheng's retreating profile, Lie Xin huffed. This fellow was really arrogant. Did he really think he was something after exploiting a slip in the system? He was still far from being able to compete with Lear. Pride came before a fall, and then he would come crawling over to beg her.

With her help, Wang Zheng could beat Lear and earn a direct invitation. Of course, the other invitation would be accorded to her.

This was a mutually beneficial arrangement.

What made him think he… Where did that confidence come from!?

Lie Xin turned away without a care. To her, a small setback did not affect the larger scheme of things. Lear… was an Earthling after all!

"Wang Zheng, what did Lie Xin want with you? Does she fancy you or something?" Zhang Shan asked privately during their mealtime. This was indeed a development.

"Keke, nothing much, she just wants to use us, is all," Wang Zheng replied between mouthfuls.

"Oh? What did you say?"

Meng Tian and Zhang Runan looked over as well. Meng Tian was especially concerned. Although she wasn't sworn rivals with Lie Xin, they did not get along too well either.

Wang Zheng shrugged irritably. "Ugh, I wasn't born to live the life of a slave. Forget it. That girl's airs are too much to deal with."

"Oh, I understand now. She only has eyes for this opportunity that we have and is trying to use us. Fat chance! If she joined us, we'd only make her do the grunt work." Zhang Shan laughed.

The marvelous turn of events had caused Zhang Shan's aspirations to grow rapidly, like spring bamboo after the rains.

This was a God-given opportunity!

Lear was not alone either. Besides Luo Fei, Lear had chosen three out of the rest.

Edison, Aloman, and Stocker.

Edison's forte was electronics and technology - he hacked Skylink firewalls as a hobby. In other aspects, however, he was ordinary.

Aloman was a conceited strongman from Titan. Privately, he was confident that he could take down Raston.

Stocker's Ability X allowed him to breathe underwater, but was also otherwise unremarkable.

This caused a few hopefuls to lose heart. Lear's selection was indeed niche!

Luo Fei's actions had been heartless, and they were etched clearly in the minds of the Martians. If it was not for the rules in effect, they would have long beaten him to a pulp. But as it was, he ate and drank unmolested, even having the cheek to call out greetings to Martians. His personality was indeed infuriating.

It almost seemed as though his skin was so thick, his cheek could fly a shuttle all by itself.

Following Qiu Si's appearance, the afternoon training began.

"You've all been training on Earth for quite some time now. We'll be doing something new this afternoon for a change. It'll also be the first task in the leader selection."

After Qiu Si's words, many an eye in the audience brightened. After endless torture, finally they would get to test their skills out.

Wang Zheng or Lear?

Besides them, of course, Achilles and the rest were not invalid either. Although they had no chance at the qualification, they could nonetheless prove themselves.

In the end, IG qualifications were determined by one's abilities. Without top-tier strength, one could not go far; cheap tricks only worked once.

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