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Eli and Dyon walked through the library, past the pond and bookshelves and through the glass doors. Stopping in front of the main elevator, Eli swiped his card.

"This is the only elevator that goes to Patia-Neva Peak. The princess gave me a card to be able to head up there, I could ask her to get you one. I don't know if she'll accept though, it's almost like giving up the keys to her house," Eli said with a blush.

Dyon was a bit confused, "When I was headed to the academy, I saw a lot of villages and stores on the other peaks. They were bustling with people too, I'm sure. Why is Patia-Neva Peak so restricted?"

"The reason isn't one I'm sure about. All I know is that Patia-Neva Peak is the only one that is basically exclusively for Delia."

'hmm, no wonder she had no guards. Why would she need them in a place like that? Seems like she let me off easy.'

"There's actually another thing we're responsible for aside from tending to the plants and planting new ones. Because of that, we'll probably have to meet with the princess today," Eli said trying to hide the excitement in his voice.

"Oh? And what's that?"

"I'm not actually sure of the details of that either," Eli said as they stepped into the elevator, "but from what it seems like, someone that goes here is pretty sick. And considering they have the help of the princess, they probably have pretty high standing. Whoever it is needs a constant supply of plants we grow. I'm not entirely sure what the illness is, but some of the plants they need have suppression characteristics, and the other portion have heavy fire characteristics."

"Interesting… so maybe a yin-based sickness, or even more specifically, a yin-based poison."

Eli looked over at Dyon after he pressed the peak button on the flipped control panel, "you're probably right. But, considering it's someone of high social standing, that still can't seem to find a cure, it may not be as simple as that."

Dyon nodded his head in agreement, secretly impressed with Eli's analysis. As he was about to continue on, something within the wall of the elevator caught his attention. He had been in this very same elevator before with Delia, but with his now heightened senses, he noticed faint traces of gold on the glass surrounding them reminiscent of the ponds around the school.

"Eli, I actually had a question about the school ponds. What are they exactly?"

"Actually, I was pretty interested in this too. When I asked Uncle Ail about it, he said that they're actually made up of donated cultivations. Some alumni, for the benefit of the school, donate their cultivation after their deaths to benefit the future generation. Actually, they become an energy source and the life blood of the whole school. In fact, all of the ponds are connected by complex tunnels so the power supply can run through everything. I'm sure even this elevator runs on it."

Dyon nodded his head, 'willingly donated after their deaths, huh?'

Before Dyon could think about it further, the doors to elevator opened and they stepped into a familiar forest. Stepping out of the tree, Eli and Dyon walked side by side along the path.

"The princess didn't want to disturb the forest too much, so this is actually the only path. To get to the field, we'll actually have to weather through the tall grass and branches," Eli said, suddenly diverging from the path and jumping over a bush.

Dyon nodded, following closely behind, 'seems like I was right. Coming up here, you wouldn't even know the first place to look, let alone finding Delia among all these trees. Eli's probably one of the only ones who knows his way around here. Guards really wouldn't be necessary.'

After 20 minutes of walking, a soft melody and crisp cutting sounds invaded the ears of Dyon and Eli. The rhythm of a blade cutting through air matched perfectly with the plucking sounds of the lyre, creating an odd mix of ice cold killing intent, and soft fall's breeze.

Dyon and Eli stood at the edge of a clearance, entranced by what they saw. Fields of medicinal plants divided into neat rows allowed gentle streams of water to flow in cleverly planned routes. A massive lake was off to its right side, filled with white lilies, slowly bobbing in the wind. A girl in a purple cheongsam that clung tightly to her body, sat with her knees pressed together facing away from them, playing the lyre that rested on her lap. In front of her, a girl Dyon knew all too well, danced with a blade in her hand. Faint traces of crystal like ice rained around her as she slashed through the air with practiced movements.

Beads of sweats delicately fell from her beautiful tanned skin. Spinning, a cold blast of air sliced through before stopping just before a tree, leaving it unmarked. The music slowly came to a stop, seemingly causing the lilies to tremble for more. Cherry blossom leaves slowly fell from the surrounding trees, gracing the ground.

'cherry blossoms?... in fall?'

Delia's delicate hand wiped the sweat from her brow. Taking a deep breath, she looked towards the girl in purple, "thank you big sister," she said with a bright smile. Just as she was about to continue, something caught her eye and she looked up to find Eli and Dyon.

She was a bit surprised, "What're you doing here? You're alive?"

As Eli was about to respond, thinking that she was talking to him, Dyon slowly walked forward.

Eli panicked a bit, he hadn't had time to inform Dyon about Delia's status and how he shouldn't be rude, but he was already too late.

"Long time no see, Delia. Are you praying on my death? That wouldn't be very fitting for a lady such as yourself," Dyon's smile almost outshone the beauty in the field they were standing in, leaving Delia breathless for a second.

Eli choked on his spit, having no words to speak and no tears to cry. But then he recovered, 'they know each other? How? And he called her directly by her first name?'

The girl in purple turned, and realizing who it was, she also smiled.

Suddenly, everything stopped. Even Dyon had no words, his smile froze and his eyes widened, "wow…".

Delia rolled her eyes, 'if I knew he'd be here too, I would have never asked big sister Madeleine to help me train. Such a pervert.'

Madeleine giggled, not seeming to mind. Her hair bobbed in its bun along with her gentle laughter and her bright brown eyes sparkled beneath her glasses.

Dyon shook his head, recovering from his blank out, "I'm Dyon, it's nice to meet you," he stretched out his hand to greet Madeleine.

Madeleine's gentle voice greeted Dyon back, "I'm Madeleine. I've heard of you Dyon, my uncle thinks highly of you," Madeleines small soft hands entered Dyon's and he felt like he was in a trance once again. His heart beat sped up and his chest slightly reddened, but he managed to keep his composed smile on his face.

But before he could release Madeleine's hand, he frowned, 'her hand is colder than it should be.'

Without being able to control himself Dyon blurted out, "are you okay?"

Madeleine started for a second, slowly retracting her hand once Dyon let go. Delia gave Dyon a surprised look.

Dyon scratched his head awkwardly, "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have asked that."

Madeleine bitterly smiled. She lowered her head and spoke so softly that the gentle swaying of the water almost completely drowned her out, "I've been sick since I was young," but almost as if she had never been sad, she looked up and smiled, "since even my Sapientia family can't find a solution, it seems as though I'm a bit doomed," she said with a chuckle, "But, with all of this beauty around me, how could I be sad all of the time."

Dyon's heart ached. He had never met this girl before, but her gentle soul touched him. It was something he hadn't felt in a long time. Dyon sat down on a rock beside Madeleine and flicked his wrists. After fiddling around he pulled out a guitar. Waving at Eli to come over, as he placed it in his lap. He gave Delia a gentle look, and she seemed to understand, silently sitting in the grass with Eli.

A small smile appeared on Madeleines face as she watched Dyon intently, 'usually people extend apologies, not even understanding that that makes me break apart inside. It seems like he wants to communicate with me through music,' Madeleine covered her red lips with her delicate hands as an enchanting laugh, 'I wonder where his understanding of the will of music has reached. Can he rival me?'

Dyon looked up at Madeleine, entranced by her sparling eyes, 'I can't let that smile fade, now can I?'

Madeleine's eyes somehow became even gentler as he saw the look Dyon was giving her, 'he isn't trying to impress me, and his eyes aren't clouded by lust. I've never seen such a pure look before.' Madeleine's heart warmed.

Dyon waved his hands and a golden fire appeared in his hands, it blazed, larger and larger, wafting a gentle warmth onto the faces of the 3 who watched him.

'That's…'

'Second stage golden alchemy fire. He has an innate aurora… and it's so powerful?' thought Madeleine. Although she had seen Dyon's display through a monitor, she hadn't been able to feel its pressure and couldn't make an accurate judgement. Suddenly she looked down at herself, 'why do I feel so much better… he isn't curing me, but this feels better than any of the medicine and elixirs I've taken… Did he know this would happen?'

The flame in Dyon's hand slowly morphed into a golden lily as he slowly brought it to the opening of his guitar.

'What control…' the 3 of them thought simultaneously.

The fire lily passed through the string of the guitar, leaving the wood and string magically untouched. The strings vibrated, radiating out a gentle song, that resonated with Madeleine, bringing more and more color to her face. Her beauty seemed to multiply, almost as if the golden fire was intent on bringing her to the peak of perfection.

Delia looked over and noticed the changes in the girl she had called big sister for as long as she could remember. Tears started streaming down her face.

"You've been suffering for a long time… How could I, Dyon Sacharro, allow such beauty in this world to wither even in the slightest," he said softly, as beads of sweat ran down his face. His hands slid across the strings, playing a melody that radiated with heat and passion, warming up Madeleine the more he played.

'first level… second…. Fourth…'

Dyon's tune became better and better and more and more blood flowed to Madeleine's previously pale face.

'sixth… eight… just how fierce is his understanding of the will of music? Ninth?! He's already at the peak of what a martial artist below the essence gathering stage can understand? I've spent my whole life immersed in music, and am only at the seventh level… wow,' Madeleine closed her eyes and smiled. Her body that had always been imperceptibly trembling for as long as she could remember, finally stopped. She took the first deep breath she had in years. The pain she felt slowly subsided as tears streamed down her face.

Dyon was playing a happy tune, the birds were chirping and the lilies were vibrating in appreciation. The heat emitting from Dyon's guitar became gentler and more refined. It filled Madeleine's body, fighting fiercely against the ailments that plagued her.

'he's getting better as he plays… this must be the affect of an innate aurora… He's already reached the peak of the 9th level of the will of music. The only thing stopping him from evolving it into an intent is his cultivation… wait a minute,' Madeleine looked over at Dyon and her heart trembled. Her heart ached as she saw Dyon, pale faced. His lips were cracked and his fingers were bleeding from the strain. But his smile had never faded as he watched her. The tears in her eyes spilled over faster as she threw her lyre to the side and rushed to him, pulling his hand off of the strings, "you idiot! Are you trying to kill yourself? You have no cultivation, but you were tapping into wills for so long. Do you know what kind of strain that puts on the body?!"

"Big sister…" Delia looked at her big sister, her eyes widened in shock. She had never once seen Madeleine lose her gentle smile, let alone berate someone else. Delia smiled and looked at Dyon, a look of gratitude evident on her face.

Dyon smiled, popping a medicinal pill into his mouth and letting the blood and injuries disappear. He looked into Madeleine's eyes as she was surprisingly close. He stood lifted up her glasses, not letting her react, before wiping away her tears. Dyon hovered over her, about half a head taller. Madeleine blushed, looking down shyly, "if I couldn't suffer through just a few hours of pain to help a beauty that's been suffering for years, how could I be much of a man?"

Madeleine trembled, 'it's been hours?...'

Not able to look Dyon in the eyes, she whispered, "thank you."

"Don't be ridiculous, this is nothing. You can thank me with a date once I find a cure for you," Dyon said with a grin.

Surprisingly, Madeleine whispered, "okay…" without even realizing she had said so. Her blush reached down to her neck as she awakened to what she had said, 'why do I believe he'll find a cure… more importantly, why did I agree to a date!! I can't let uncle find out, he'll tease me to no end.'

"pervert," Delia muttered under her breath. But, it seemed decidedly less fierce this time.

"You look beautiful even without your glasses," Dyon said, realizing her eyes were more golden-brown than he had given her credit for before while placing her glasses back on her face.

Eli sat nearby in a daze as to what was going on. That was a girl even the princess called big sister! What was Dyon doing? Flirting? Successfully? 'That's my big brother,' Eli thought with a smile.

Suddenly a gust of wind sweeped through the field, causing the waves of the lake to become more fierce. The shining sun was blocked out by something as a fierce voice rung down, "WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?! STEP AWAY FROM HER!"

SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

Without even waiting for a reply, a whistling sound could be heard through the air. Dyon, who was standing in front of Madeleine had gold flashing through his eyes as his senses heightened.

He threw his hand up in the direction of the sound, allowing 10s of defensive arrays to appear, each one larger than the previous.

BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

The arrow pierced through barrier after barrier, slicing through Dyon's defenses but slowing down all the while.

Finally, it reached the last barrier. Dyon's hands flashed with more arrays as his hand speed was amplified. He caught the arrow by its body, stopping it from piercing his head.

Snapping the arrow in half, he looked up to find a massive raven in the sky. It had a wing span of at least 5 meters and two young men stood on its back.

Madeleine looked at Dyon worriedly, "are you okay?"

Delia snapped her head up, "who?!"

Dyon smiled and nodded, a cold light appearing in his eyes once he looked up.

A sneer appeared on his face, 'I haven't even truly been with her yet, and I'm already in trouble for it. But, since you want to kill me, let's see who gets played to death first.'

Stairs of golden defensive formations appeared, rising into the skies.

'How can he form arrays so far from himself. He's a monster…' thought Eli.

Dyon's feet lit up with 10s of amplification and hardening arrays as he gently pushed Madeleine away from him and stomped the ground rising quickly to the peak stair.

Staring at the young men who had looks of surprise on their faces, Dyon smiled a cold smile, "you know, I've been here for less than a month, and this is already the 4th time someone's tried to kill me. I gotta say, my patience is running thin."

The stairs of gold disappeared, leaving just the one Dyon stood on as he looked on. They soared at least 20 meters in the air, staring off at each other.

The young men shivered at Dyon's next words, "Sorry. I misspoke. I have no patience left. I think it's time the both of you died."

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Awespec

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  • Awespec

Bio: Med school student who loves to write :)

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