Dyon woke to a soft melody. He almost jolted up in surprise as he noticed a delicate figure sitting beside his bed.
Dyon groaned a bit, "Madeleine?" Dyon jerked awake, "oh no, the banquet. I'm so sorry."
Madeleine didn't seem too worried about it as she smiled. She was the picture of perfection. Her smooth fair skin shone through a slit in her qipao, letting her leg grace Dyon's eyes. Her hair was up as usual, but it was adorned with a beautiful hair piece comb, shining silver and gold with hints of purple. Her dress was her usual purple, but it was decidedly more elegant and refined. It clung tightly to curves, making Dyon stunned for a while.
"If I show up with you, they'll really kill me for good," Dyon said with a bright smile.
Madeleine's gentle laughter filled the room, "go on. I left your outfit in the bathroom. It's only been half an hour since the banquet started, so I thought I'd let you sleep. Since you're awake, we might as well go."
Dyon jumped up and headed to the bathroom, leaving Madeleine staring at the walls of drawn arrays, "he really works hard… no wonder he's so tired. Let me play him a revitalizing tune…"
Dyon walked out feeling fresh. He wore formal attire that more heavily matched the human world. Black dress pants and a tight purple dress shirt clung to him. He had on a watch he almost never wore and had rolled up his sleeves.
Madeleine walked to him and buttoned something he had missed, "seems like you really can be quite handsome sometimes," Madeleine said with a gentle laugh.
Dyon smiled, "how could I ever be handsome enough for you? I'll have to make up for it by being stronger," Dyon tilted up her chin, snapping her away from her focus on fixing him up properly.
Madeleine was frozen, looking into his eyes for some time, but then she said, "alright, let's go, we're already late."
"no, no, no. How could I let you walk there? I might be struck down by the heavens for something like that."
Madeleine turned back to Dyon, a bit puzzled, "How do you want to get there then?"
Dyon smiled mysteriously. He walked towards the window and placed his hand on it. A flood of golden light started to push the water away from the glass, a perfect semi-sphere appeared. Complex symbols and rotations reflected into the room.
Dyon turned back to Madeleine, extending his hand. A delicate hand slipped into his as a look of curiosity appeared on her face.
"This is something I've been working on for the past few days. Pushing the water away is just a sphere form version of the defensive array I mastered, but, this is the really cool part."
Dyon tapped the window, and an array began to form from 8 different points. 10 minutes later, Dyon stretched out his hand and to Madeleine's surprise, it passed right through the window.
"This is a small-scale space type array. I can't speed array it yet, but it's really useful for passing through things," Dyon turned and smiled at Madeleine, "let's go."
A small stair case into the window formed, and Dyon guided Madeleine through the window and into the dark water slowly.
Madeleine looked around and touched the edge of the defensive formation, "wow," but when she looked back at Dyon, all she saw was his gaze intent on her, causing her to blush.
The sphere started slowly ascending through the water. The moon light sparkled through the lake and the stars shone in the sky. Breaking through, the sphere disappeared, and Madeleine stood clinging to Dyon's arm as they looked into the sky.
"I've got one more surprise," Dyon lifted his free hand and formations of small birds, butterflies and lilies started revolving around them. The defensive formation below them started to change. It grew wings and lit on fire as though it was a phoenix. A sharp call rang through the skies as Madeleine's eyes glistened.
Dyon was about to start moving when he scratched his head awkwardly, "where exactly is this banquet being held at?"
Madeleine giggled and pointed. The phoenix soared through the skies accompanied by small beautiful formations, brightening the night as they flew towards the 2000-meter peak of the center pillar.
Meiying clung to Delia's arm, "ugh, Delia I can't stand him. I can't believe my dad agreed to this marriage, and now I can't get rid of him. You know the Bai and Daiyu family have never been on good terms. My father is such a coward, jumping on the first chance to court peace by selling off his daughter."
Delia smiled bitterly. They had had this conversation a million times before, "sometimes you just have to do things you don't want to do for the greater good, Meiying. Chenglei isn't so bad. He's well mannered and a great talent. He's handsome and, at the very least, he's not Akihiko."
Meiying pouted, "well, why don't you marry him then. He may not be Akihiko, but he might be even worse. Chenglei always holds his emotions in check, you can never tell what he's thinking. What if he's even more of psychopath than Akihiko? You'll never see your best friend alive again."
"You're being overly dramatic."
The friends were walking through a garden path. A massive arch appeared every few meters, lighting up the path with the shining lights that wrapped around them. Flowers littered the surroundings and the beauty under the moonlight was unspeakable.
Meiying smiled bitterly, '*sigh*, you're so naïve Delia. I envy your straight forward duty bound attitude. But I don't know if I can do it.'
"hmph, I'm hungry, why hasn't the banquet started yet?"
"Come on now Meiying, you know our senior brothers wouldn't be able to rest until Madeleine got here. They've been itching to start competing with each other this whole time. But how could they when the girl they've been pining for isn't here yet?"
"That's true, big sister isn't here yet… could her illness be acting up again?"
"eh, you'll see…"
"hmm?" Meiying looked at Delia, confused.
Before Meiying could ask what Delia meant, they had reached the end of the path and had entered the banquet area. Under the night sky, the long table adorned with white table wears and patterns was striking. Candle lights flickered and young men and women walked into and out of groups, socializing merrily in the large open space.
"Meiying, Miss Patia-Neva, have you heard anything from Miss Sapientia? Her elder brother and Akihiko are getting a bit restless. They're talking about going to find her. They're a bit worried that something might be wrong."
"Sorry, Chenglei, we haven't. But, how about you spend some time with Meiying, I'm sure she'd appreciate it."
Meiying pinched her friend's arm, but Delia pretended like she didn't notice.
A small smile appeared on Chenglei's face, "it would be an honor," Chenglei said, extending his hand.
Before Meiying could respond, a group of young men walked over causing Chenglei subtly lowered his hand. Many would be easily recognisable by Dyon. Even Darius was among the group, although his demeanor was much more reserved and respectful, as though he was scared to offend anyone with his breathing.
A young man having golden eyes shining through crystal framed glasses walked up and stood beside Chenglei before Akihiko made his way to the girls as well, "we're thinking of going to find my little sister," spoke that young man, "it wouldn't be alright if we entered a lady's room, so we were hoping you'd come with us."
"Um.. Big brother Oliver, about tha –," before Delia could finish speak, a sharp bird cry sounded through the sky.
The sky seemed to be on fire and a young man and woman swarmed by golden light and flames stood majestically in the sky.
Ava looked up from her chat with Tammy, "who?..."
Tammy was stunned before chuckling lightly, "it seems he's more skilled than you gave him credit for, Ava"
The young men looked up and into the sky.
Darius was the most surprised, "why is he here… and with her? They know each other? They're together? What's going on here."
A taller and older version of Hauk from the opening ceremony looked over to Darius, "you know him Darius?" The anger in his voice was clear.
Akihiko's face was burning with anger, 'that's my wife!'
Madeleine didn't seem to hear the commotion below. She was clinging to Dyon, looking up at him with her eyes sparkling, "you really know how to give a girl exactly what she wants."
Dyon looked down at her with a massive grin on his face, "if they're all going to want to kill me anyway, I might as well make an event out of it."
Madeleine giggled and leaned her head into Dyon, oblivious to the fumes of anger and jealousy she was setting off in the crowd below.
"How the hell did he win her heart… And why they hell is he flirting with me if he has … That!" Ava didn't know what to think anymore. She had just been telling Dyon earlier today how he wasn't strong or good enough for her, then he shows up with the most beautiful woman in the history of Focus Academy. Not to mention the fact there was no way she was weak!
"I guess my words fell on deaf ears," Tammy said chuckling.
A robust laughter filled the roof top, "it seems like my little sister has found someone she likes. He must be a great man."
Meiying was looking on in disbelief, "is that really big sister?... she looks so… healthy."
'Maybe I should give this Chenglei character a try if boys can really have that affect on you,' Meiying thought to herself.
Delia was looking up at the sky and smiling, watching them slowly descend. She had never seen her big sister so happy in a long time.
Snapping out of his stupor, Darius finally realized he had been asked a question, "Elder Cousin Caddell, this is the boy I nearly killed the other day. I was telling you about his idiocy earlier."
"Him!? What gives him the right to be with Lady Sapientia and be so weak?!"
The young men around Darius and Caddell seemed to hear their conversation, soon the entire banquet knew and Dyon hadn't even stepped off the formation yet. He was happily chatting with Madeleine, they seemed lost in another world.
Oliver frowned when he heard the talks, but quickly got over it. He knew his sister better than any of them. Even if the man she chose was that weak, he made her happy, and that was all he cared about. Pertinacis wasn't of the same opinion as his elder brother, but he decided to wait on the results instead of jumping to conclusions. He wouldn't allow his elder sister to be with a weakling, but he was also intelligent. He knew that the phoenix they rode here on wasn't within his sister's abilities, which means this Dyon had more secrets than they knew. Also, he had personally witnessed his talent at the opening ceremony, so he was well aware of the potential. Since his sister was sick anyway, the family wouldn't have too many objections even if she were to marry someone from the human world.
Thinking to this point, he let it go and smiled, "Elder brother, this is actually the student from the human world I was telling you about earlier. He caused quite a stir at the opening ceremony. He's actually quite talented."
"Oh?" Oliver looked on thoughtfully. It seemed like his sister appreciated that potential as well.
By now, Dyon and Madeleine had already stepped onto the ground, the phoenix dissipating. But, instead of allowed the floating flower and birds go as well, Dyon grasped the air, pulling them into his fist. He lightly squeezed, and a beautiful flower flickering with aurora flames appeared.
"This is actually something I've been studying the most for the past few days. I can't be with you all the time, so I thought I'd make something that could alleviate your illness all the time. It partially incorporates an array and also has part of my aurora flame. It should leave you in comfort for as long as I live."
Madeleine smiled, tears glistening in her eyes as she placed the flower onto her hair bun. It perfectly complemented her hair pin, magnifying her beauty even more.
Although they weren't paying attention to everyone, it didn't mean that they weren't paying attention to them.
Akihiko has blood dripping down the corner of his lips as he bit the inside of his mouth. It was one thing for him to get beat up. But it was an entirely different matter to find out it was the same person who had, just a few days prior, almost lost their life to someone who could barely be considered a member of the pillar families. And to then show up with the girl he had loved for most of his life? Akihiko was as close to blowing up as a human could possibly be.
Oliver was the first to go greet them. A wide smile was on his face, "when were you going to tell me you found a husband little sister? And to make us wait so long for you to come here? You worried us to death. Why don't you introduce me?"
Madeleine blushed, not able to look her brother in the eye. Dyon had a smile on his face as he looked at the tall young man, 'he's strong, thought Dyon.'
Just as Dyon was about to extend his hand to greet Madeleine's elder brother, a booming voice radiated through the roof.
"I've seen a lot of things in my day, but to see such shit stuck to a pure flower is a first for me."
It was Darius. He was sneering in Dyon's direction. He was brimming with confidence. He could do a favor for his seniors by get rid of this eyesore, and it would be easy. Although many of the seniors here were a bit apprehensive about his story because they thought there was no way their goddess could be with such a weakling, he was the most certain about this truth behind it.
Oliver faintly smiled. It would be easy for him to protect Dyon as a favor to his little sister, but even if Dyon was weak, he had to have the disposition of a man. If Dyon was a coward, even he wouldn't allow his little sister to be with him.
He had heard the stories from his Uncle Libro and his little brother Pertinacis, but seeing was believing, and this was the perfect opportunity.
Dyon understood Oliver's intentions and nodded, "I'll be right back," he smiled faintly at Madeleine.
Madeleine, understanding Dyon's personality, nodded and let go of his arm.
Dyon slowly walked past Oliver. His every step seemed to dictate the beating hearts of those around his. A dense killing intent permeated the air as he found Akihiko blocking his way.
His voice was faint but it carried throughout the whole banquet, "are you going to move aside yourself, or should I help you?"
Oliver was a bit stunned by what Dyon said. He was at most a first year, and from what he could see, he had no cultivation. Was he ignorant to Akihiko's strength? But before he could step forward to mediate the situation, his eyes widened as he saw Akihiko tremble. It was almost imperceptible, but it was there.
"why isn't Akihiko saying anything… with his temper, he would have flown into a rage already," said Meiying faintly.
Akihiko steadied himself with great struggles, "don't joke around brother Dyon, I just happened to be here when you came, I don't mind moving. This is a friendly event after all."
The banquet went silent with shock.
Ava's mouth was hanging open and even the playful Tammy didn't know what to think.
Was this really the Akihiko they knew?
'I can't risk getting beat again, I have to find out the limit of his strength first.'
Akihiko shifted to the side and Dyon continued to walk, their shoulders barely touching. Dyon didn't spare Akihiko another glance, causing Akihiko to go red with a next level of vigor.
Dyon walked up to Darius whose sneer was frozen, "cousin…" he said weakly.
He was sure he had beaten Dyon to an inch of death before, but something was different today.
"don't worry, with me here, what could he do," Caddell said with a sneer.
This seemed to give Darius renewed confidence. Although Akihiko was talented, Caddell was much older and therefore much stronger. Even if Akihiko was afraid, it didn't mean Caddell was too.
Dyon ignored Caddell and stood half a meter in front of Darius, "it seems we meet again. I'm sure you remember what I said last time," Dyon said faintly.
"I've actually been working on this new array. I used it earlier today to glide through water, but I think it might have another purpose too," waving his hand, a sphere of golden light with complex symbols appeared around Darius.
"W-what is this," Darius trembled, "cousin! Save me!"
Caddell smirked and sent a punch at the sphere packing the full might of a practitioner at the 7th layer of the foundation stage.
Small rippled filled the sphere, but other than that, there was nothing.
"haha, this is a 4th common level array, how could it be so easy to disperse. Especially since I layered it by at least 10. Good luck with that."
Caddell was fuming in anger and embarrassment. How could he not destroy something made on a whim by a 13-year-old?!
Darius was inside the sphere as it slowly shrank. He was crying out and slamming against the walls. But if a 7th layer could do nothing, how could he at the 3rd?
Darius was already on his knees by the time people started to understand what was going on.
"hmm, I think if you want to survive, you'll have to strip naked and kowtow to me 10 times. I think that's about the going rate on your life."
Darius trembled as he remembered those were words he had once spoken to Dyon.
"okay, okay. I'll do it, I'll do it!" Darius started ripping his clothes off.
"you coward! You disgrace the Storm family! And you! I'll kill you!"
As Caddell was charging at Dyon, Darius was already kowtowing, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry"
But, before Caddell could reach Dyon and Dyon could retaliate, a graceful figure appeared before him, blasting him away.
"Madeleine?" Dyon shook his head chuckling, "I could handle him you know," Dyon said with a smile.
"Madeleine is so powerful?"
"I've never seen her fight"
"Neither have I"
"She's definitely way stronger than me," muttered Ava who was in a constant state of surprise since the Dyon had arrived.
"He was annoying me. What right does he have to comment on a man I chose, hmph."
Dyon turned a gaze of humor towards Madeleine, 'she says she wants me to be stronger, but she isn't willing to let me get bullied. What a woman.'
Dyon waved his hand and released the now naked Darius who refused to raise his head due to embarrassment.
"The next time you cross my path, I'll kill you. In light of today's festivities, I'll let you live for now. But, you'd better understand that I don't speak my words lightly. Watch your mouth, or I'll watch it for you."
After he was finished, Dyon took Madeleine's delicate hand and walked back towards the shocked Oliver. On his way, he smiled towards Meiying and Delia.
"Do you want to stay here?" Dyon whispered to Madeleine.
"Not really, I just wanted to see my big brother. I haven't seen him in a long time. Let's go," Madeleine said with a gentle smile, leaning into Dyon.
Dyon walked to Oliver before putting his hand out, "I'm Dyon Sacharro, nice to meet you."
Oliver's hearty laugh filled the roof top again, "good man," he said grasping Dyon's hand, "you two can go, I'm sure you don't want to be here anyway. I'll see you when the world of the central tower opens, I'm sure you'll make good gains there. Uncle Libro was adamant on getting you a spot, and considering your talent, there should be no problems."
Dyon smiled and nodded, waving his hands, the crowd looked on in awe as another phoenix appeared. Dyon and Madeleine faded into the distance, the cries of the Phoenix filling the skies.
Back on the ground, Akihiko had a sinister look on his face, 'you can enjoy this victory for now. But, I'm coming for you. The central pillar open world isn't a joke. Once news spreads of you and Madeleine, it won't be hard to get hundreds of people attacking you together. I wonder what you'd do then? Madeleine will be mine. Her potential will be mine. I'll rise up the ranks of the martial world and conquer everything.'
Tammy was scanning the people remaining in the banquet with intelligent eyes, 'the central pillar open world, huh? That brings back memories…'
The rest of the guests were still in a daze when Oliver's claps filled the silence again, "Alright! Sorry for the liveliness. This is supposed to be a happy occasion. Let's work hard and motivate each other! If something isn't the way you want it to be, fight for it! You just may win," Oliver smiled a bright smile, his handsome face making it impossible for the crowd to stop nodding at his words.
"Everything by absolute power or absolute sympathy!" Oliver roared.
"Everything by absolute power or absolute sympathy!"
"Everything by absolute power or absolute sympathy!"
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Don't worry... I'm pissed off Darius hasn't died yet either... But, oh the woes of an author who wants to use a minor character for a purpose :'( I'll suffer through with you
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