Ri pulled Dyon up, hugging him as tightly as her puffy dress would allow.
Dyon stroked her hair, chuckling, "Silly girl, is there a need to cry? Why don't you look at yourself in the mirror?"
Ri looked up from Dyon's embrace, turning to the mirror to look at herself standing by Dyon.
A gasp suddenly escaped her lips, "Dyon…"
Ri's hair now had a braided crown on it… it was a truly beautiful sight, but that wasn't what caught Ri's attention.
On her neck, there was a thin and elegantly made necklace. She touched it gently, tears glistening in her eyes… because she noticed Dyon was wearing one less band on his wrist.
Dyon smiled, "These clothes were something my father once wore. Later in his life, he was a law enforcement officer… but that was simply the aftermath of his military career. One of the only times I ever saw him smile was when he wore this to accept a reward…"
Dyon looked down to the bands on his wrist, "These were the first inventions I ever created. But, they mean more than that to me. The metal you see around it was something my mother passed down to me… it wasn't the best material I could have used, but she always said that making more with less could make anyone better."
Dyon kept the second band for Madeleine. He found it unfortunate that his array alchemy hadn't reached a high enough level to do this for her back then, but he smiled thinking of gifting it to her in the future.
Spinning Ri around, Dyon looked down at her lovingly, "This is part two of your present," kissing her forehead.
Ri's tears were threatening to fall as her lip trembled.
Dyon smiled, caressing her cheek, "This is a happy day," he said gently, "Don't cry."
Suddenly Ri smiled, "I don't know if I want to go anymore…" she said quietly.
"And I'm the pervert?" Dyon said, grinning widely.
Ri rolled her eyes, "That's not what I meant," hooking her arm around Dyon's, "Let's go."
Like that, they walked out of the room and into a wide hallway near the top floor of the castle.
In a large banquet, tens of the younger generation had shown up, many of which included the elder brothers and sisters of some Dyon was already familiar with.
Actually, the only elders present were Sinaht and Uncle Acacia. The other elders of the major and sub families paid their respects but decided it might be more damaging than anything else should they appear.
Unsurprisingly, the Eostre family made the biggest contribution to the Princess' birthday as a sort of apology for their obvious shortcomings. In fact, much of their presents included funding and backing received covertly by the Daiyu family in order to coerce their services. As such, the Elvin Kingdom gained another massive boost in income. In fact, it might have been because the Daiyu family spent so much time bribing potential allies that they lacked resources to begin with.
That aside, the atmosphere was lively. It seemed that if those in attendance weren't smiling while watching the orphans play, they were having amiable social interactions amongst each other.
"Do you think Ri will actually come?" Mithrandir sat near Primrose, questioning her as Zaltarish almost comedically prepared her a plate of food. He was so diligent that even Ores, Kymil and Darcassan couldn't help but snicker. And yet, he was too focused on pleasing Mithrandir to care much for anything else.
Primrose giggled, glancing periodically between Mithrandir and Zaltarish, giving her friend a knowing look, "I don't know… She's quite worried about Dyon. So, it depends on if he wakes up or not."
Mithrandir sighed, accepting an expertly designed plate of fruit from Zaltarish, "That boy has always been reckless… I hope he's okay."
Zaltarish would have pouted at Mithrandir's words if it wasn't for the fact he wanted to uphold an image, 'I'm feeding you with my heart and soul and you're worried about another man?! Where's the justice?"
Suddenly, Zaltarish felt a pat on his should. Turning around, he found his elder sister grinning at him, "If you want her heart little brother, you should dominate her. What's this nonsense about you becoming her waterboy?"
Zaltarish's elder sister was… unique. She had faint grey skin and red eyes much like the rest of the Sigebryht family, and you could tell by her facial features that she should be a world class beauty… but she was a bit… muscular…
Akash Sigebryht was only twenty-five, and yet she had already broken into the second layer of essence gathering. But, with that genius came her eccentric personality.
Unlike many other girls and even boys, Akash would fight in campaigns even if there was no glory or ranking to be had. To her, the battle field was the only home worth having… and that excessive push to be the strongest made her forego ladylike techniques she shunned as 'nature's sin.'
Some tried to explain to her that techniques for women weren't weaker, it was just that they maintained an outer appearance of beauty, but, Akash was having none of it. She insisted on practicing the most domineering techniques… thus resulting in her appearance now.
Truth be told, she was still quite beautiful… if you didn't notice the fact her legs would crush your head in an instant.
But, it was exactly because of this passion that she became the chief head of the Elvin Army just recently. To not just be a campaign leader, but a head at such a young age was something anyone could be proud of. And it was especially unprecedented since Akash was a woman.
That being said, although Zaltarish was proud of his elder sister, her appearance now made him blush. Her words led to an unconcealed laughter raging through the table… It was right about now that Zaltarish hated how charismatic his sister was.
However, noticing Ores' eyes glittering, he took this opportunity to change the subject, "Big sister, I believe Ores had something he wanted to tell you. You should speak with him."
Ores' eyes snapped to Zaltarish so quickly that his flaming red hair lifted off of his shoulders. But, Zaltarish pretended not to notice his glare, already preparing another plate for Mithrandir much to his sister's dismay.
Akash rolled her eyes. She had absolutely no interest in Ores. To her, he was just a kid who was slightly bigger than other kids. She had already crushed all the men of her generation, or else why would she be chief? It obviously was of no help to Ores that he lost to a human boy even younger than him. In fact, Dyon might be the only kid in the younger generation she was curious to see the growth of aside from her own little brother.