After finding a covert place to send the demon generals back into the ring, Dyon walked along the streets as though nothing had happened with Ri and Eli.
"Have you met Ri, Eli?" Dyon asked with a bright smile. It was as though he was a kid again, excited to show off his girlfriend. Ri found this to be quite adorable, but she was still a little shy. This was her first time meeting someone Dyon truly called friend – everyone else was either his subordinate or enemy.
However, Ri seemed to recover from this quickly, "We did meet while you were doing something reckless. You know you could have died right? What were you thinking?!"
Eli giggled as he watched Dyon awkwardly scratch the back of his head. It had been a long time since he had any time to truly relax and he felt the best he had in years. He was happy to have a friend that remember him after so long, despite the short time they had spent together.
After she finished berating Dyon for being stupid, Ri switched sides to talk to Eli. For some reason, she felt comfortable enough to wrap her arms around his in a friendly way. Maybe it was Eli's shy appearance or his innocent features, but Ri took a liking to him.
"Tell me Eli, how was Dyon back then? How many bad things did he do?"
Dyon cringed at this question, trying to signal Eli with his eyes to remember the bro-code. Unfortunately, it seemed the martial world had no concept of such a thing. Seeing that Ri was taking the opportunity to get close to him, Eli's mouth began to pour out endless secrets. Well, maybe they weren't secrets, but they were definitely things he had glossed over in the past.
In the past, Dyon had already told Ri about how he met Madeleine in full detail – that would never be something he held from her. But, there were other things he… May or may not have ignored.
"Mortal World crush?"
"Flirting with anything that walked?"
"Naked in front of Delia?"
Ri's voice seemed to gain an octave with every new juicy piece of information. Dyon could only pretend as though he wasn't there, instead focusing his gaze on the cobbled roads and shop-lined streets.
In the end, Dyon couldn't even find the tears to cry, "Eli, you traitor!"
Eli couldn't help but laugh, seemingly unaffected by Dyon's cries.
Seeing that no one was going to help him explain, Dyon began to, "My first crush isn't even relevant. I was like five years old, that hardly counts for anything, right?"
RI's blue-silver eyes blinked as her long hair bobbed in the wind, "It counted enough for you to remember to tell my best friend Eli about it."
'Best friend?' Dyon choked on air, this wasn't going well. "Alright, alright."
The truth was that Dyon had been worried about more than just his parents showing up during the trials – he had also been worried about confronting a girl he had liked back when he was in the human world. It had never developed into love, because Dyon had cut it off. But, that probably only made him feel all the guiltier. That said, it was likely because Dyon had made the emotionally unselfish decision then, that made the old man not deem it worthy to test him on.
Clara Esmond. Dyon hadn't seen her since he was about ten years old. That was when, after the death of his father, he began taking his inventing seriously. He tossed everything for the sake of making his mark on the world. Actually… Dyon had seen her again during the Focus Academy assessments, but he had done his best to avoid her entirely.
To an adult, the decisions of a ten-year-old seem petty. Dyon didn't even know what the word love meant, and it wasn't until Madeleine that his brain had a eureka moment – something that was then replicated by Ri. In fact, if it wasn't for Clara, it would have been all the more likely for Dyon to ignore his feelings for Madeleine. But, when you coupled those past feelings of guilt, with the thought of Madeleine's life being on the line, it had pushed him over the edge.
Dyon's mother, before her death, had always told him to follow his feelings and act on them before it was too late. But, it wasn't until Clara that Dyon began taking that seriously.
There was a time where Dyon ignored his mother's advice much like he had his dad's. Many saw his lopsided agreement with his mother and wrote him off as a 'momma's boy', when in reality there was a story behind that too.
Seeing Dyon struggling with his answer, and not wanting to ruin the mood, Ri tactfully changed the subject. In reality, Dyon had brought up Clara to Ri, before. It was just that it happened to be one of the things he glossed over.
"Forget the crush then, I'm not letting you off the hook." Ri playfully glared at Dyon, "What's this I hear about you flashing poor Delia? And sexually harassing Ava?"
Dyon nearly snorted out his laughter, "I'm innocent! Delia just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and I was only thanking Ava for saving me!"
"So you want to blame poor Delia for seeing what she saw? It was her home! How was she supposed to know some pervert was going to come flying in with his things hanging everywhere?"
Eli burst out into laughter. He didn't even notice when tears had started streaming down his face until Ri took out a cloth to help him wipe it was a concerned smile on her face.
It wasn't until then that Dyon noticed that they had finally come to the alchemy guild – it was no wonder why Eli's emotions were a mess.
Patting his shoulder, Dyon smiled lightly, "Let's go get them."