Ri sat cross-legged on the shoulder of the statue as it walked out of the array.
It had been almost 3 days since Dyon had fallen asleep, but they had finally made it out to find the true test of talent.
In front stood a stair case spanning what looked like 99 steps.
Subdivided into 9 parts, reaching the end of each section meant obtaining a key to each of the 9 corresponding palaces at the very top.
Floating above these 9 palaces was yet another palace that Ri recognized immediately, 'that's the tomb for the wills who rest here…'
Everything still had vague amount of grey-blue fog floating around endlessly… but, the most striking feature was the pressure Ri could feel even from the first step. Pressure she could feel without even having stepped onto it.
In Ri's lap, Dyon still slept soundly, a faint smile on his face. His arms were still wrapped around Ri's waist as he occasionally nuzzled his nose into her torso.
Ri could only sigh, 'you take advantage of me even in your sleep… you have pervert written into your veins… you would rather sleep in such an awkward position than let me go.'
Despite what she thought, Ri had a faint smile on her face. She didn't notice when, but she had been stroking Dyon's cheek softly for hours absentmindedly.
After a few hours, Dyon groaned himself awake. But, when Ri thought carefully, she almost burst into a fit of laughter.
"your stomach growls louder than your voice," she said lightly.
Dyon blinked awake at the sound of Ri's voice, but his senses were immediately filled with a sweet scent and a bare torso, causing him to grin, nuzzling his nose again, "so soft…"
Ri flicked Dyon's ear, "focus, we have half the time we did when we got here. I'm sure considering your actions something big is happening outside…"
Dyon nodded, reluctantly getting up and stretching.
Rubbing his stomach, Dyon grinned, "food first though… you guys said I sent you too much food, right?"
Ri rolled her eyes, waiting patiently while Dyon ate more than should be possible for even a beast, let alone a human.
Ri sighed, "eating so much spiritual food is going to make you burst…"
Dyon nodded vaguely, seemingly too interested in eating to pay much attention to anything else. His strong body made it okay for him to stay awake for long periods of time, and even stay extended periods of time without food… but that didn't mean he was willing to.
Soon, Dyon sighed with satisfaction, taking in his surroundings.
Because of Dyon's manifestation and the stress it placed on him, Dyon's soul had firmly stepped into the 5th middle stage. But, that was more bad news than anything else…
The truth was that his body still wasn't strong enough to handle it when he boosted his soul to the middle 6th stage… He had pushed himself hard, so even now his body ached…. So much so that he had easily just eaten 3x more than he usually did, just so his body would have the nutrients to repair itself.
Dyon sighed with satisfaction having taken everything in, "this'll be simple… the puppet is seen as an extension of myself and I can easily use it to protect you.
Normally in situations like this, protecting more than yourself from the onslaught of energies and auras would be suicide… but if I'm taking a talent test for a 15-year-old with no cultivation… using a celestial stage puppet… wouldn't that be too easy already?"
Hearing Dyon's explanation, Ri nodded, "let's go then… but I want to see how far I can walk on my own first," she said faintly.
Dyon looked at Ri's side profile quietly. Noticing her resoluteness, he nodded, urging the puppet to place her at the bottom of the first set of steps.
Ri stood at the end of the steps resolutely, her sword appearing in her hand… it wasn't that it would be of any help, but she felt comfortable holding something that used to belong to her mother.
It wasn't powerful… in fact, it was a common level weapon… but she refused to change it.
Dyon watched silently as Ri's energy spiked. Her blue-silver hair fluttered wildly as she took a step forward.
Watching Ri so casually walk up the first tier of steps, Dyon smiled lightly… but the reaction of the bobbing old wills was nothing remotely similar to Dyon's nonchalant attitude.
'I thought at first the girl was just a useless lover the child brought along… but it seems that had she had a proper guide, she'd be among the best to ever step foot in our special legacy world… should we really allow a half elf and human to take the things that were built by us?...'
Silence was the only answer this will received for a long time.
In some form or fashion, it was right. Even considering how it was likely that Dyon was prophesied to be of great help to their race… if he took everything important to them, would they really be okay with a human solving all of their problems?...
And that wasn't even considering the fact that the prophecies themselves were subject to interpretation. There was no telling how the words themselves should be understood… for example, if the rise of the Elvin Kingdom was due to a love bond, how could they tell whether it would be Dyon himself who succeeded, or a child within his lineage with the True Empath that did… what if the rising up the prophecy spoke of just meant enlightenment through death?...
Although the bobbing wills felt ridiculous thinking of all of the possibilities… whether that be interpreting what was meant by love bond or interpreting what was meant by 'rising up'… they had no tangible proof for refuting any one of these possibilities.
But, the problem was, the more they thought about it, the more time passed… And the more time that passed… the further Ri walked up the stairs.