Ri watched silently as Dyon meditated quietly. His skin was noticeably reddened from its previous tanned color and sweat beaded down his forehead. Yet, despite the pain he was in, a wide smile could be seen on his face.
Ri thought Dyon was crazy for enjoying the pain of whatever cultivation method he was going through right now. But, if she knew he was smiling because he was gaining more benefits than he could count without spending a dime, Dyon would lose whatever higher position he had just gained in Ri's heart.
Little Lyla, though, had eaten her fill and was happily playing around with Little Black.
The food seemed to have been of great benefit to Little Black as well, because his fur and scales were shining with a pure sheen. Even the white swirls that graced his luscious coat seemed to be made of shining with lights of their own.
However, Dyon could be said to have gotten the most from this experience. His blood essence, which had stalled in its integration for such a long time, had been pushed violently upwards. His demon qilin and celestial deer essences were already approaching 10% while his demon sage essence was pushing upwards to 2%.
Initially, this surprised Dyon because he thought the process would take longer. But then he remembered back to the months of training he underwent. Not only did he prime a good percentage of the essences for easier integration, his body itself had gotten stronger, so the process was less of a hassle.
All the while, Dyon had ordered himself another Ice Petal's Dance because it was the perfect fruit for calming his raging essence imbalance.
The was because Dyon was becoming more and more aware of how domineering the sage's blood essence truly was. For one, his soul had reached the 5th stage with no problem. Dyon was clear of the fact this was only possible with the help of the sage demon's blood. If it wasn't for it, how would Dyon's body be able to handle such a powerful soul?
The second reason was because despite Dyon's increase in soul strength, and by extension aurora strength, he still couldn't heal his own body effectively. Although minor injuries weren't a problem, if he got injured like he did back at the legacy world opening again, even with his improved soul he would need weeks to recuperate. This meant Dyon had no choice but to invest heavily into using the pill condensation technique to create potent medicine for himself. But, if he had to use such powerful pills already… what would happen when he integrated even more of the sage's blood essence?
In the end, Dyon decided to cast all of this from his mind. He easily chose strength over those worries. Maybe, one day, he'd be strong enough that he wouldn't even need to heal at all because he'd never be injured. So, Dyon settled on not only integrating as much of the sage demon's essence as he could, but also finding an equally powerful blood essence later to help him balance the demonic aura.
Hours later, Little Lyla was still happily playing with Little Black and it was already well past midday. However, since there was still much daylight left, Dyon still chose to bring Little Lyla with him and Ri to the cave.
Dyon stretched as they walked out of Heaven's Wine. His muscles and bones cracked and groaned. Or, at least that what people guessed should be happening. Because, it sounded nothing like that.
Dyon's simple stretch sounded like muffled thunder to those near him. Even Ri couldn't help but look at him weirdly.
When he noticed Ri's glance, all Dyon did was grin, pretending as though a wink explained everything.
Ri rolled her eyes as she stepped onto Dyon's array platform. She had secrets of her own, so she naturally didn't think Dyon had to tell her anything.
Soon, they reached a familiar cave in the depths of the forest. Leisurely walking in, Dyon took a good long look at the pool of ethereal water. But, his mind became distracted when he thought about how Ri had bathed in it, so he decided to focus his mind on the task at hand.
"Little Lyla, you have to make sure not to touch the water, okay? It's dangerous," Ri kneeled lovingly in front of Lyla and told her what she could and couldn't do.
Little Lyla obediently nodded her head before jumping to Dyon's side, "big brother, are you going to use the pretty flashing light again?"
Dyon chuckled, rubbing the little girl's head, "yes. It'll be a big help to your big sister. You should tell her to thank me."
Lyla's head bobbed up and down adorably, "she's very thankful big brother."
Dyon laughed, sitting Lyla beside him looking up eagerly. Little Black seemed to have taken a liking to the little girl, so he curled up beside her as she clapped happily.
The ground of the cave was surprisingly comfortable, but Dyon still made cushions for them to sit on, not wanting Little Lyla to ever feel any discomfort.
Ri, sitting across from Dyon looked at him intently, "what exactly are you planning on doing? I did tell you how hard it is to open an aurora past 30%, right? You innate aurora folk are too much," she said bitterly.
Dyon looked up with interest, "oh? Is there more than just me? How many people with innate auroras do you know?"
Ri shook her head, "like I said, an innate aurora hasn't appeared in this universe for millennia… but the same can't be said of other universes. There have been 2 that I know of who appeared during campaigns… there may be more, I don't know."
Dyon's eyebrows arched up, "what are they like?"
Ri rolled her eyes, "you sound like a gossipy teenage girl asking me about my crush."
Dyon grinned, "ooo, do you have a crush?"
Little Lyla giggled when she saw Dyon teasing Ri.
Ri, being unwilling to punish Little Lyla, instead settled for flicking Dyon's forehead, "stop talking such nonsense. Who has time for something so ridiculous."
Little Lyla looked up at Dyon with her large watery eyes, "big brother, can you believe that big sister has never liked a boy? She told me when she came to visit," she giggled adorably.
Dyon smirked, "didn't you say you shouldn't lie to a little girl? Look at you now. Hypocrite."
Ri furrowed her eyebrows, "who's lying?!"
Dyon gave Ri a devious smile but stopped teasing her.
Ri could only take a deep breath, trying to forget how annoying Dyon was, "campaign leaders with innate auroras are on a whole other level…" she said softly, "they see so much of the battle field because of their 6th sense, they lend the best support imaginable with their speed at creating arrays, and their intelligence can normally scale vastly higher than the average leader."
Dyon's gaze turned serious, "so the other universe, our most immediate enemy, has at least 2, maybe more leaders on that level… while we have none?"
Ri smiled bitterly, "you see why my father was willing to pair you up with me now? It isn't just about the Elvin Kingdom, it's about the whole universe."