It was a challenge getting Holly to agree with Otta's request. The housewife didn't want to give up her knitting hobby and it took a lot of convincing from Otta's end including bribery to get her mother to accept the position as the CEO of Otta's chicken farm and distribution business. Richard didn't know what she promised but Otta didn't look too happy about it. He only found out from Holly two weeks later that Otta promised to model for the woollen clothes Holly made. The photos will be posted to Holly's social media account for advertisement and the only bright side was how Otta's face wouldn't be shown. Both Richard and Oscar had a good laugh after they found out, much to Otta's annoyance.
The days grew shorter as Otta and Richard became increasingly busy with their personal projects. Three months rolled by since they sold FLS to Clarkson Inc. Oscar was doing a great job keeping Brandon away from them. It didn't take long for Brandon to realise that FLS was simply an empty shell. More than half of Otta's previous employees have tendered their resignation and it wouldn't be long before the rest followed.
Right now, Otta was working on a new project with the jobless tech team. Nemu-Nemu was a project that went well with Otta's ideas. With Otta spearheading the project, there was now a range of AI idols with individual personalities modelled after some characters from Five Lives Saga's unreleased dungeons and quests.
Richard was helping Raymond and John with the backorder app. After Holly took over the chicken farm, she made sure to pull the media towards her. Chicken and eggs were food for only the wealthy when Brandon monopolised it. Now, it could be readily available for all at any Mcsmeldy outlet or at Rowan Market. Holly helped John and Raymond plan their business expansion to cope with overwhelming demand. The programmer knew that Otta's chicken farm was left in good hands. He did what he could to ease the bottleneck between orders and lack of supply as much as he could with the help of technology. This way, Rose was able to track and analyse the demands in time to make the necessary logistic arrangements with Holly. Otta's mother seemed taken with the bright girl and wanted to take Rose as her business apprentice. Otta didn't protest, in fact, she encouraged it.
Nobody knew exactly what Oscar was doing. However, Brandon didn't seem too keen on involving himself with the chicken farm or Otta and Richard's lives. He was too busy struggling to manage the discontent of adventurers of the new FLS's method of management. It was overly commercialised under Clarkson Inc and many guilds withdrew, including Black Penguin. With PJP's investors putting pressure of Adrian, the director had no choice but to terminate the partnership agreement and pull out their scientist beta testers.
Brandon wasn't a fool. He knew an end when he saw it coming. Clarkson Inc may have deep pockets but no sane business person would hold onto a sinking ship even if it were for personal reasons. Boiling with fury at being tricked, he swore to get back at them somehow. However, with Oscar Olley protecting them from the shadows, not even criminals dared to take actions against Otta and Richard. He didn't know it at first because the private investigator he hired was an incapable fool. However, Brandon soon found out that Oscar Otta was the infamous Secretary-General of the Interpol. To add salt to the wound, Otta's mother was Holly Whyte - an unrivalled prosecutor in her prime. She owned several businesses after she retired and managed them passively. Brandon knew that going against this power couple was not a wise move. Hence, the only thing he could do was shut FLS down.
"What?" Otta stopped her work and so did Richard. Dr Whitestone still visited them often on the pretext of checking if they were eating and sleeping well.
The scientist sighed. He tried to convince Adrian to try to buy whatever is left from FLS but the director had been adamant and refused. There was no telling what he was thinking. Clearly letting such a valuable dungeon go was a mistake but still, the director couldn't be moved. At his wit's end, Dr Whitestone sought the founders of FLS.
Instead of being sad or dejected, Otta and Richard merely grinned. It was great news for them.
"Well, I think celebrations are in due," Richard nodded solemnly and pulled out his phone to dial for pizza from Mcsmeldy's while Otta texted the whole gang on Workstation.
Dr Whitestone couldn't understand what was happening even when the duo dragged him by both arms to their favourite cafe. John was ready with the pizzas when they arrived. Surprisingly, they were the last to arrive even though they lived closest to the cafe. Even the busy Cameron took time off from work to attend the impromptu celebration.
The moment they entered, the whole crew stood up to applaud. Dr Whitestone didn't understand how everyone could be so joyous when FLS was shut down. The remaining employees under the new management were asked to leave the company within twenty-four hours. Nobody protested and Dr Whitestone couldn't help but wonder why.
"Thank you for attending on a short notice," Richard began and everyone fell silent once they were seated. Jillian didn't mind shifting a few tables and chairs over for the company of over twenty people. There were not many customers so they could afford to reserve half of the shop space for Otta and friends.
"I called everyone over for our very second HQ meeting..."
"We no longer have a company to call HQ for this," Khan interrupted and Otta smiled.
"Not yet. Brandon did us a favour so we have three months to plan better. I hope you don't mind that we're carrying the plan forward. Anyone who is unable to join us in the second chapter of our journey please let us know now, we shan't burden you further."
Surprisingly, nobody stood up and Dr Whitestone wondered if Cameron was willing to abandon his newly founded business to embark on another one of Otta and Richard's ideas.
"Very well," Otta smiled with pride. "Richard and the tech team probably have a clue or two about our next idea... we're going to conquer and rule this dungeon technology. Long gone are the battle-themed dungeons. We're modernising the use of such a space."
Venus chuckled. "Giving the physically disabled a chance at a normal life?"
Otta grinned. "It's not going to be easy but with the growing popularity of non-battle themed dungeons, I'm sure the government can see sense as well."
Richard sighed. "I tried to stop her but as you can see, it's no good. I think that PJP will be in for hard times once again..."
Dr Whitestone blinked when he noticed how all eyes were suddenly on him. Mentally he wanted to flee but he knew it was impossible. When Otta wanted something, she would stop at nothing until sh got it.
"I can try to talk to the director about your intentions but the final decision will still lie with him and the shareholders..." Dr Whitestone began cautiously and that only made Otta's grin grow wider.
"Pizza is on me, I recommend the chicken Hawaiian pizza. John is a genius!"
Without further ado, the second HQ meeting ended and everyone sang praises about the chef's culinary skill. Otta savoured every single bite. Chicken finally tasted delicious.
[Otta has done it again!]
[Brain behind Five Lives Saga is leading a new revolution!]
[She Rules the Dungeons once more!]
[New Life is the new way of living!]
As the media grow crazy over Otta's latest announcement and registered business six months later, the red-head couldn't help but wonder if Brandon would forgive them after all.
New Life was the name they decided on after discussing the core nature of the business. While Mina insisted that they couldn't run it as a charity, their main purpose was to improve the lives of people with dungeons. It was meant for anyone and everyone without discrimination about gender, status, qualifications or capabilities.
The business idea about introducing dungeons for non-combat purposes was well received. Schools have petitioned to adopt Otta's dungeon space for their online lessons. Companies with overseas operations are keen in engaging New Life to design a dungeon boardroom for a meeting with their executives stationed worldwide. Engineers and scientists are intrigued by the concept of time dilation in a dungeon for simulation projects. Even NASA couldn't help but admit that Otta's ideas were for a better future. With so much support, the government was unable to stop New Life from doing anything.
They had funds, alliances, partnership and talents flocking to them. PJP and Black Penguin were one of their greatest supporters. Of course, many adventurers begged for Otta to bring Five Lives Saga back but Otta refused. However, she promised them to bring something back even better. Khan and Grace were tied up with the new project, working on creating a dungeon that adventurers would be satisfied with.
Nemu-Nemu had her first debut online not long ago and already, the creator of Neru-Neru was begging for a collaboration, offering to write songs for all their AI idols. Who was Otta to refuse? Thomas was the man's name and he was the man of many girls' dreams. Unfortunately for him, none of the females in New Life was interested in him.
The first dungeon after their long break would be released next week with Nemu-Nemu and Neru-Neru's first ever performance. Dungeon show tickets were selling like hotcakes and Richard was glad to put his newly acquired hardware to the test. Unlike humans, AI idols do not get tired so there wasn't a need to schedule different shows on different days. They could happen concurrently too and that was something Otta exploited to make more money. Depending on the favoured languages and songs, different concerts were scheduled.
It wasn't surprising that tickets were snapped out by the end of the third day. Thomas and the tech team worked together without day and night to prepare the first concert dungeon show. Moona took care of idol and costume designs while Mark took care of their dance choreography. It was a busy week for everyone.
Despite all the workload, there was someone in New Life who managed to squeeze some spare time to approach Thomas for a special show. He prepared a long time for this moment and when Otta came in through the door looking worse for wear after a meeting with Holly, Richard decided that he would surprise her after her bath.
"What is it?" Otta asked. Richard had been acting weird ever since she returned.
The programmer decided to change his last name to Rowan once it was confirmed that Brandon wasn't going to try anything funny. The businessman had called Richard over the phone a few days back explaining his request for a boardroom dungeon and a possible office dungeon for his purpose. The programmer was surprised but didn't reject it. If Brandon was satisfied with being able to return to the workforce despite his disability, it would mean they were off his 'to hunt' list. Otta agreed to make his dungeon a priority after things have settled.
"Sit down," Richard told her and Otta agreed. She sat on the couch as Richard hooked his phone to the screen. She wasn't sure where this was going but she knew better than to ask.
The movie started playing and Otta was surprised to see Neru-Neru on screen. Was this a new song?
The AI idol started to sing and Otta knew it wasn't an ordinary song. Richard must have worked something out with Thomas because behind Neru-Neru was everyone else from FLS in digital form.
"And we present to you our latest special single: Queen of the Future!" Nemu-Nemu exclaimed before the stage dimmed.
Heavy beats and electronic bop filled the living room.
It's always a lonely journey
A path filled with thorns devoid of roses
There's one girl with hair like flames
Who drove the darkness from this world with her pure unadulterated kindness
We don't know her name or face or age
But we know her dreams her struggles her stage
The place she belongs isn't on the battlefields
It's back home behind the screens with a pen in hand instead of sword
It's where ideas are given wings to fly
It's where desires are brought to life
The hope given to the hopeless, the colours given to the blind
Our queen walks the lonely path, our queen rules the silent dungeons
Queen of the future
Your bravery has moved the Gods and brought forth a blinding miracle
The enemies lay down their spears and kneel down before you
Offering their lives for your cause and their bodies to be your shields
Queen of the future
Your army awaits your call, your allies walk behind you
Otta could hardly believe what she was hearing or looking at. The music video was simply so well done and she couldn't help but tear up a little. Thomas must have written this with the help of others. However, she was pleasantly surprised because she didn't think Richard was capable of singing, much less recording a song. It was definitely auto-tuned but it sounded surprisingly good.
Touched, she looked over to Richard who seemed nervous for an explanation. The programmer wasn't someone good with feelings. He hardly bought gifts or said thanks.
The programmer felt uncomfortable at her gaze so he looked away. "Just so you know, everyone had a part in this. I'm just the mailman. Stop looking so disgusting and chin up. We have a lot ahead of us and Brandon will come back to get me if you don't create a dungeon good enough for him!"
The red-head chuckled. "Good to know you're not turning sappy on me after all we've gone through. I'm just so glad that we can still be partners. It was so scary when you told dad that you didn't want to be an Olley any longer. Mom nearly cried until you explained to her about Raymond."
Richard rolled his eyes. Of course, Holly would overreact.
"Well, at least she didn't threaten suicide. Also, you shouldn't worry about being partners. I told you from the very beginning, didn't I? I'll always become your wings."
Otta blushed and her heart skipped a beat but she ignored it and smiled. "Thank you, Richard. I won't let you down!"
The programmer smiled and ruffled her hair. It was alright, they had all the time in the world.
That marks the end of my little project between Ball of Nothing's Season 1 and 2!
Forgive the many typos and crappy plot lol... also, "lyrics" were written by yours truly so please don't sue me if you die from cringing.
If you liked it and want to see more works please join my discord server!
Please switch to the pop-up to complete the payment.
This's an experimental test for reading assistance in case.
We highly recommend you to enjoy the beauty of the original words.