Dyon watched with a big smile on his face as Ava cried in Arios' arms. She had gone through so much to save him, even being humiliated by Baal, and now her big brother was finally back.
Arios smiled, holding onto his sister tightly while looking up at his elder brother, "Bro, I've missed you."
Arios' elder brother clasped his shoulder, "Dad nearly started a war because of you, you know. He tells everyone it was because of Ava, but we all know how much he loves you. And what's up with this hair? Are women into this kind of thing?"
Ava sniffled, "You big idiot. Why did you disappear?"
Dyon decided then it was probably best he take his leave, "Take your time Arios, this battle won't be worth your effort. Let me handle it."
With that, Dyon left with to look around the Elvin campsite.
"What's your plan?" Ri asked.
Dyon pondered for a bit, "The Phantus clan not only relies on their beast taming and breeding, they're also expert body cultivators and earth will warriors. Because of that, normal traps don't work against them."
Ri nodded. Usually when dealing with large beasts, the best option was to ruin their footholds or block their paths – things of that nature. However, how could pitfalls work against warriors who could manipulate the earth itself? No straight forward plan would work against them.
"In addition, even stalling the beasts will be difficult. Their skin is too difficult to pierce for meridian formation warriors. It makes no sense to attack their eyes because their eyesight is already poor and the size of weapon that would be needed to kill them with an attack aimed there would be seen through almost immediately. The truth is that attacking their hearing really is the best option."
Delia, Akash and the other elves listened quietly as Dyon spoke with Ri.
"But then the problem is having an attack powerful enough to effect them." Ri said.
"Right, but, my music will isn't good for soothing. I read about Madeleine's battle and she succeeded by lulling the beasts into a sense of comfort – a state where they're near useless. But, my music path is much more useful for instilling fear in my enemies and confidence in my allies."
Ri nodded, "And instilling fear in such beasts would be a double-edged sword. They might hurt the Phantus god clan, but they could just as easily hurt us too. The best method for soothing we have would then be your and my celestial will, but the Phantus will bring at least ten beasts, leaving the rest near their gate to defend. It wouldn't be possible for us to deal with all of them alone."
Dyon smiled. He had given Ri celestial will in much the same way he had with Madeleine, it just seemed like she was much less shy about it.
"I agree. There is the possibility of using my crystal will to boost our celestial will to the appropriate levels, but the calming effect of celestial will is more of a symptom rather than its actual purpose. Celestial will, down to its core, is meant to cleanse, but when its not for defense, it also requires direction with my aurora to be effective. Something as intricate as effecting emotion would definitely need touch… And that's not a viable option with so many opponents. "
What Dyon was saying was correct. Whenever he wanted to manipulate the emotions of others with his celestial will, he touched them. That included when he wanted to calm Little Lyla, or when he had intimate contact with Madeleine or Ri. Both required the precision of his aurora.
Essentially, Dyon cheated. He used his aurora to make up for deficiencies he had in controlling his celestial will. So, without the use of his aurora, meaning his touch in this case, celestial will could only be used as a defense.
"But, what makes this even more difficult is how they use earth will to attack. Sure, its annoying when they defend with it against pitfalls and the like, but it becomes even more annoying when the manipulate the landscape to suit them."
Akash suddenly spoke up, "That's correct. Whether that be turning the land to sludge to ruin footing or elevating their attack position above ours to give an elevation advantage, they're tough to deal with."
Dyon nodded, "They're tough. But, they have weaknesses."
Everyone listened intently to Dyon, a strange confidence blooming in them as they watched a smile spread across his face.
"You guys have missed a glaring weakness of the scaled elephants."
Akash's brows furrowed, "Weakness?..."
Dyon smiled, "They aren't normal elephants. The Phantus clan has used special methods to meld them with reptilian DNA. That's why they're scaled. Usually, this is good for defense – after all, what could be better than the scales as a defense?"
Everyone was still confused, what was the use in knowing that?
Dyon shrugged at their confusion, "It's obvious isn't it? They're cold blooded."
Later that day, Delia walked out of Dyon and Ri's tent nervously, leaving the couple alone.
"Are you sure she can handle this?" Ri asked, listening to the flap close.
Dyon sighed sitting cross legged on the bed and helping Ri take off her armor, "The truth is, only you and I are necessary to make this work. In fact, if I include the members of our army with the necessary affinity, its almost overkill. But, I want to give her a purpose."
Ri nodded, "What a good big brother."
Dyon chuckled, "I almost regret introducing you to Ava, you two are too much fire."
"I like her," Ri said grinning, sliding into comfortable sleepwear.
Soon Ri lay to rest in bed, staring at Dyon's meditating figure. She sighed, knowing fully well that he wouldn't sleep tonight. In fact, he wasn't even being his usual perverted self… But, this only made Ri smile. Dyon's focus was one of the things she loved about him.
Dyon himself was taking deep breaths, running over patterns and simulations in his head. He thought of dozens of possibilities and everything seemed to change with just the slightest variable shift.
The first key tower was known as the Earth Tower. It sat in the closest position to the gate and the terrain around it was fairly flat. That being said, there was only one way to get here: a mountain pass called the Earthen Passage.
About ten kilometers past the Earth Tower sat two mountain ranges that stretched around in a semi-circular pattern. The only easily accessible opening in this mountain range was a wide passage. In fact, the passage itself was so wide it was almost inaccurate to call it as such. However, it served its function as the only route here.
There were many problems even knowing this, though. For one, the mountain pass was a huge advantage for Earth will users like the Phantus. In addition, a set straight passage like that severely hindered maneuverability, something that would be highly important when dealing with the Scaled Elephants.
Therefore, Dyon settled on a choice. 'We'll meet them about a kilometer out of the Earthen Passage. The first thing they'll see when the step out will be us.'