A piercing roar tore through the sky, a raging tempest of wind and fire slicing through space as though there was nothing in existence worthy of being in front of its might.
Dyon stood in the face of all of this with Ri by his side, a black-red sun that seemed to block out everything in existence speeding towards them.
Closing his eyes, Dyon took a deep breath, feeling his skin searing under the endless heat.
"Weapon's Hell Array Variant… Devour…"
Suddenly the large array began to pick up its pace, spinning more ferociously as a white purity began to coat it… it was oddly gentle in the face of so much that wasn't.
Ri looked up to see Dyon's face in resolute concentration. She shifted her gaze to her uncle, a man who she had long since taken in as her father…
Uncle Acacia's face twitched. He wanted to move to help, but, he felt a faint pressure locking him and everyone else… It seemed Elder Daiyu would allow them to retreat but had no intention of letting them help.
Elder Daiyu chuckled, "I think it's best if you all stay put… Did you see me interfere when my daughter-in-law was scalped?"
Jade, however, was shaking in rage… her arm was bent in an odd direction and deep claw marks could be seen across her face and chest, 'she's… a monster…'
Jade shivered thinking of the power Ri tapped into to bring her to this pitiful state. But, that made her no less angry, 'die then…'
But, for some inexplicable reason… when she looked up to see Dyon facing this danger with Ri by his side, she felt a rare something in her heart… something she couldn't name or place… but whatever that feeling was… it had only started the day she met Dyon.
Slowly getting up, Jade walked towards the battle, wanting to be by Chenglei.
And that was when, Dyon's eyes finally opened.
The light within them was so blinding that they could have been spears of their own… cutting through the air like blades of purple gold.
Dyon's muscles flared under the strain of his powered soul, pushing everything he had into this.
The dragon's roar vibrated the air, shaking the buildings and cracking the marble.
It was one man against one beast.
It was the fiery pits of hell against heaven's judgement.
It was a final blow against a final blow...
Suddenly, Dyon finally released his spear, grabbing onto Ri's waist and leaping backwards.
The spear spun furiously into the Black Jade Sun, the dragon still roaring furiously – adding as much power as Chenglei could channel into it.
Chenglei's eyes widened, 'What's going on… it shouldn't be like this!'
Dyon watched, hands on his knees as Ri supported him.
The weapon's hell array pierced forward, seemingly soaking up Chenglei's technique as its own.
Dyon smirked, "looks like I was right…"
Regardless of what form an attack using a manifestation took, it was always at its base form a soul-based technique. Meaning, it could be negated with techniques meant to negate soul type techniques… and what technique was better at doing that than Dyon's defensive type soul technique: Devour.
If you then couple that with the cleansing power of celestial will… what could stand up to it?
Blinding lights and concussive explosions filled the square, a tempest of blacks, reds and whites spinning into the air as a raging tornado.
The wind kicked up, destroying and slicing anything in its path. Dyon had no choice but to curl his wings around himself and Ri, allowing his manifestation to loom over them protectively.
"NO!" Elder Daiyu moved toward Chenglei but found himself blocked by Deryth and Sinaht.
"You can't expect us to let you through so easily, do you?" said Grand Elder Deryth faintly.
Elder Daiyu's hand flashed as a very familiar treasure appeared… the Demolition Cube.
"I think it's best you two get out of my way."
The cube opened into 4 sections, revealing a blinding sphere of light.
Elder Daiyu was truly worried. He sensed a familiar air in the technique Dyon just used… and if he was right… Chenglei's manifestation was in danger! How could he allow his grandson to be crippled like he was?! Even a partially damaged manifestation would have massive effects on one's future. And the idea of that technique being the very one that shattered his dao was making him sick to his stomach!
'How did this child master a technique like this already?!'
The old man was fully aware that at the level Dyon's technique was at, the mere second stage of the first act, he wouldn't even make a dent on a dao formation… but, against a person of similar soul strength to himself?! The results would be catastrophic!
Elder Diayu winced as he poured his power into the Demolition Cube… the power required to be of threat to Celestial Stage Experts was too much for him in this state, but he did it anyway. He had to make it before Chenglei's manifestation was completely destroyed!
Chenglei screamed in agony as Dyon's technique began to eat away at his dragon.
It felt like his soul was being shattered… bent… distorted… He had practiced a soul cultivation technique before, but it felt nothing like this!
Suddenly, Dyon felt a pat on his shoulder. He spun quickly, agitated. He was heavily fatigued, so he was giving his aurora a rest – because of this, he hadn't felt anyone sneak up on him.
But, the sight he found made him sigh in relief, "Aeson… thank you…"
Aeson had used the opportunity while Elder Daiyu was distracted by Chenglei's pain to take Meiying away.
Dyon was pale, but he still stood to pat the seemingly comatose girl on the head, "you've suffered a lot…" he said softly.
Dyon turned to Ri who was still holding him up, "I need your help Ri."
Ri nodded, knowing what Dyon meant. Dyon wanted to use Ri's aurora as a boost to his own like he had when healing Ri in dead kings valley. That way, he could heal Meiying in his fatigued state.
With blazing fires and battling elders as a backdrop, Dyon slowly melded his aurora with Ri's to pick at the array locking down Meiying.
Suddenly, Meiying's eyes began to brighten from their dull state.
She looked up, confused. Seeing Dyon's pale continence, she was startled, "Dyon?..."
Meiying's eyes widened with realization, "Dyon quickly, fix the array you just broke."
Dyon's brows furrowed, "but it's almost gone…"
Meiying shook her head vigorously, "no, no, no. You can't possibly understand the scale of what you're trying to get in the way of. You have to put the seal back on me."
"Can you tell me?" Dyon questioned. He already faintly knew what Meiying wanted to do… but he didn't feel comfortable with it.
Meiying rolled her eyes, turning her gaze to Ri, "can you tell my stupid brother-in-law that he's not the only one who can dive head first into danger please?"
Ri giggled, flicking Dyon's forehead, "can't you tell she's made up her mind? Give her a key to the array so she can open and close it."
Dyon frowned in thought. For Meiying to be able to use the key on her own, she needs an awakened aurora… at least to a partial state….
Ri sighed, "your senses are really dull when you're tired. She already has her aurora awakened partially. In fact, it's at 39%."
Dyon was stunned. Suddenly, he eyes flashed with a realization, 'the Daiyu clan needs people with auroras… or maybe, they need their important pawns to have auroras… is this part of why they attacked the Celestial Deer Sect? Why do they need so many things that improve the senses? Meiying's compass… Jade's manifestation… and now auroras?'
Dyon's eyes widened further, 'the aurora awakening steps from dead kings valley!'
Suddenly it all fit together. Although Dyon still didn't know the exact reason, it was clear they were searching for something… and they needed people to help them. Having the aurora awakening steps would have been a huge plus to that.
Dyon sighed, seeing Meiying's resolute face. She was still so young, thrust into a world like this by her own father of all things, "I'll add the key and one other thing… I'll save you when the time is right," Dyon said gently, "your big sisters miss you…"
Meiying's eyes glistened as she nodded, a last tear falling as they dulled…