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- "If you're going to take me on, son, you're going to have to bring your game up to a whole different level." - Lionel Luthor, to Lex, Tempest
Years later, Lionel sent Lex to run the LuthorCorp factory in Smallville so he could keep him out of trouble. While Lex ran the Smallville factory of LuthorCorp, Lionel stayed in Metropolis. Lionel later came to Smallville to give Lex a hard time about his decision to increase his workforce. They couldn't come to an agreement, leading Lionel to suggest that they fence for it; Lex lost the bet.
When Earl Jenkins attempted to get Lionel's attention by holding hostages inside the LuthorCorp plant, Lionel come to Smallville and was confronted by Lex about a secret project named Level Three that Lionel´s hold on the plant but Lionel refers to Level 3 as a redundant storage area.
Lionel orchestrated a plan to set up Lex to make him lose the Smallville factory of LuthorCorp and used Lex's new girlfriend Victoria Hardwick to accomplish this, but without success. Nixon later gave photos to Lex of Lionel in an intimate position with Victoria.
Months later, Lionel returned to Smallville for a surprise visit, to compliment Lex's work at the Smallville plant, and offered Lex a new position in Metropolis as Special Advisor to the Chairman but Lex ultimately turned him down.
Finally, Lionel announced that the Smallville plant will be closed due to management problems beyond their control; he did this to force Lex out of Smallville. While Lex and Lionel were arguing during the tornadoes that hit the town, the storm blew out a window. Lionel was injured, and he called out to Lex for help.