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Outside the spatial world, Ri was sitting nervously, staring at the ring in her hand.

The vibrations had long since quietened down, but she had no way of knowing what happened. Since the ring was owned by Dyon, she had no way of entering without his permission, so she could only sit and wait while ensuring the ring never left the cave.

Time passed and soon she was started awake by the pitter patter of small feet running into the cave.

Ri looked up to see Little Lyla skipping in. Without her noticing, the sun had already come up in the sky, and Dyon was still nowhere to be seen.

"Big sister? Where's big brother Dyon?"

Little Black walked beside Little Lyla. Although the little guy was aware of the dangers, he too was worried about Dyon. But, he couldn't very well leave Lyla outside.

Ri looked into the little girl's sparkling pink eyes and stroked her long hair, "big sister's not sure… we can only wait," Ri's eyes glistened with worry.

Little Lyla patted Ri's face in her usual adorable fashion, "big sister, you're too beautiful to be sad, okay? I'm sure big brother will be fine."

Ri smiled, chuckling to herself, "I should be comforting you little girl, don't look down on your big sister."

Little Lyla giggled as Ri pinched her soft cheeks.

Almost as if on cue, Ri's hand was suddenly invaded by a comforting warmth. Looking up in confusion, she found pure hazel-green eyes looking into hers with a playful look in them.

"You're beautiful and your hand feels so good in mine. You're quite good, aren't you?"

Ri's eyes flashed with happiness as she finally realized it was Dyon, but his words made her roll her eyes. Taking her hand away, she gave Dyon a stern look, "you think you can just leave us for an entire night and pretend like nothing happened?"

Dyon raised an eyebrow, but soon noticed that the cave was much better lit than it had been when he left. He could only scratch his head awkwardly in acknowledgement.

'I guess learning 3000 names and partial backstories took more time than I thought… but, I can only imagine how powerful an army of generals would be. It's well worth it.'

Picking up Little Lyla into his arms, Dyon smiled, "we should get you back, hm? We wouldn't want Ms. Everdeen to get mad at me for you missing your lessons, right?"

Little Lyla smiled, and wrapped her arms around Dyon's neck. But, much to the surprise of both Ri and Dyon, she fell asleep almost immediately in that position.

A tinge of guilt invaded Dyon's heart. It looked like the little girl hadn't slept that night either.

Dyon sighed, "it looks like Ms. Everdeen is going to be quite angry with me. But, I can't send her to lessons like this. She's too tired."

Dyon rubbed the little girl's back. Lyla had found a strong hold on Dyon's heart and he wasn't willing to see her suffer at all. He berated himself for not at least coming back to let them know he was okay… but it was too late now.

Ri flicked his forehead, "you seem to forget that you have people who care for you now. Don't be so reckless next time."

With that line, she walked out of the cave, expecting Dyon to follow her.

Watching Ri's alluring back and swaying curves walk away, Dyon smiled to himself, 'I guess I do, hm?'

Along the way, Ri asked Dyon about what had happened. Dyon, wanting to be honest, told her it wasn't something he could tell her the full story behind just yet. But, he reassured her that it wouldn't be a recurring problem.

The demon generals had only been trying to grab Dyon's attention. They had been awake for days, but he still hadn't checked in. Since they were vaguely aware of the fact they had been out of it for more than a year, they didn't want to wait too long for when Dyon next checked on them. So, they stirred a little trouble.

The only thing really on Dyon's mind now was feeding them all. He had no choice but to keep them within his ring so as not to alert the Elvin Kingdom. At most, he could bring out Arios since he had once been here, so his existence wouldn't be questioned too much. In the end, he decided that he might as well feed them like kings. He once again inwardly thanked the Heaven's Wine founder for unwittingly being his benefactor.

As Dyon was lost in thought, he suddenly felt a strong grip on his arm.

Dyon looked over Ri confusedly, not understanding her actions. But, seeing the horrified look on her face, he immediately followed her line of sight.

Still holding on to Little Lyla, Dyon trembled violently.

There in front of them, the fences of the orphanage he had built were destroyed. Half of the house was charred black from an obvious fire, and there was layer after layer of feces piled onto the front lawns, peaking through the windows, and even filling the doorways.

Huddled outside, hundreds of shivering children sat together, looking at the scene with tears in their eyes.

Dyon quickly scanned the crowd. He had memorized the faces and names of every child he had taken in, so the first thing he wanted to make sure was that none of them were missing.

Taking a deep breath, Dyon did his best to calm himself. He didn't want his anger to awaken Lyla or frighten the already scared children. They were lucky enough that none of the children seemed to be missing, he didn't want to make a bad situation, worse.

But, the next sight Dyon saw nearly made him lose nearly all control.

Ms. Everdeen, the sweet old lady he felt like he had just spoken to. The same old lady he had watched through Little Black take such good care of the children… Hung by her neck on a nearby tree.

Her face was in ruins, nearly unrecognizable. Her clothes had been stripped from her. Deep cuts littered her once fair and fragile wrinkled skin…

Tears of anger streamed down Dyon's face as he felt Ri turn her gaze away, burying her head into his shoulder.

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Awespec

  • Canada
  • Awespec

Bio: Med school student who loves to write :)

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