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Dyon watched as Ri seemed to be casually strolling through endless pressure.

The fog raged wildly around her feet and her long blue-silver hair seemed to have a life of its own.

Yet, despite the protesting of the stairs, Ri had already reached the 5th tier of steps!

The bobbing wills could only watch bitterly.

'in our history… the furthest a genius has traveled is the 10th step of the 9th tier… but, was it really this easy back then?'

The old bob sighed as Ri almost instantly reached the 1st step of the 8th tier, 'you all need to remember that this world wasn't originally ours to begin with… we gained much benefit from it and now it's brought us two youths that will only help us further… they should at least be questioned before we make a decision.'

Many could only keep their bitterness to themselves. There was no refuting the words of such an old will, especially when they were words of logic.

So, they could only watch as Ri's steps gradually slowed… as her face paled… as the grip on her sword intensified under the pressure.

She could no longer lift her arms as she tried to lift her foot to the 11th and last step of the 8th tier… the corners of her mouth seeped with blood. Her hand had wrapped around her sword so tightly that even her palms began to be cut apart.

'I can do this… for dad… for mom… I can do this.'

Dyon watched with a dull pain in his heart. But, he didn't step forward to help her. This was something Ri wanted to do on her own and helping her right now would be nothing less than a slap in the face.

Dyon knew how complex Ri's past was. In fact, he had only truly just figured it out.

The level of respect he had gained for Ri… for her intelligence, her foresight, her strength… he could hardly put into words.

He had resigned himself in the beginning to seek revenge against those who had harmed the orphans and Ms. Everdeen… but now he had another thing he found just as important: to alleviate the burden a little girl had been holding on to all on her own.

But, despite this. Dyon knew that there were some fights Ri had to fight for herself. And this was one of them.

So, when Ri stabilized herself on the 10th step of the 9th tier, Dyon held his breath in anticipation. The 9th palace… a palace none of the elves had ever been to… what would be in there?

Ri took a deep breath.

Her bones cracked under the pressure.

Her sword weighed hundreds of pounds now, but she still refused to let go.

Her hair no longer fluttered… it was as though it was being steam pressed into her… there was no room for comfort.

Yet, she still lifted her foot for the last step.

Suddenly, it was like there was no sound left in the world. The whooshing of the fog had stopped. The gentle grating of the stone puppet had stopped. Ri's delicate grunting could no longer be heard either…

It was as though everything watched in anticipation as Ri took her last step…

BOOM!

A raging tempest of wind swept violently through the 99 steps, each one glowing successively.

Dyon's eyes widened, 'this… it feels like the aurora awakening pill on a whole other level… does this mean?...'

Almost as if to answer Dyon's question, Ri's aurora raged as a violent blue flame, reaching higher and higher as her body shook on the final step.

Dyon grit his teeth, 'I can't stop this… if I do… she'll miss her opportunity…'

"AAGGGHHH!!"

Dyon winced, listening to Ri's screams of agony, 'is this what it's like opening the last percentages of an aurora?...'

Ri keeled over, landing so heavily on all fours that she felt the bones in her hands and knees shatter almost beyond repair.

Tears streamed down her face as her glowing aurora only intensified in strength. It was as though the pressure of the last step was crushing her without remorse.

Dyon dug his nails into his palms, trying to calm himself. Watching a friend he held dearly suffer like this wasn't something he was willing to see… but he kept his eyes focused.

'93%... 94%... hold on Ri… I'll come get you soon.'

Ri tried to stop her body from trembling, but she couldn't…

Every shift of her body sent waves of pain through her cracked bones, endlessly.

'97%... 99%...'

"GO!" boomed Dyon.

The stone puppet launched itself into action, immediately storming up the steps in the blink of an eye. It was almost as though the pressure didn't exist for it as it reached RI's side.

Dyon wasn't in the right frame of mind to think properly… so he jumped from the puppet, landing on the 99th step.

And yet, he didn't have the time or patience to take notice that the steps did nothing to him as he rushed towards Ri.

But, if he spared the time to think about it, wouldn't the reason why be obvious? Why would stairs meant to fully awaken auroras effect someone with a perfect innate aurora?

"Barrier!" he barked at the puppet.

The pressure was gone in an instant, causing Ri to collapse.

Dyon bit his lip as he gently flipped Ri over, pouring his aurora into her.

'fucking hell… I knew her body was special but this?...'

Dyon's aurora was having no effect on healing Ri. He felt just like he had back when he first integrated the demon sage's blood… her body was of too high quality for him to do much of anything.

'let me see if I can stimulate her aurora to help…'

Dyon's aurora melded slowly with Ri's. It was a difficult process that had to be done delicately, or else one of their souls would definitely suffer.

'it's not enough…' Dyon frowned deeply, 'what kind of body can't be healed with two fully awakened auroras?'

Dyon could only grit his teeth, releasing his manifestation.

He knew it wasn't a good idea to do this now. His body had just barely recovered from the time he used it for the stone puppet, and yet, despite being sure that this task would take even longer than the 30 minutes he had used before, Dyon still felt he had to do this.

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Awespec

  • Canada
  • Awespec

Bio: Med school student who loves to write :)

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