The crowd cheered loudly. The Belmonts and the Sicarius were in a lot of ways their heroes. The other clans had come here by negotiation and some were old enough to remember times where no one had ever heard of the Ragnor or the Pakal, or at the very least old enough to have elders who reminded them of this fact in their youth. But, the Belmonts and Sicarius were examples of clans that used to be weaker that rose themselves up to the great heights they were at today. They were the hope of everyone there and the people they were the most loyal to. In fact, many had been in these very seats when they watched the epic final battle between Big Red and King Belmont all those years ago.
That battle had lasted for days, and yet no one had left their seats. In the end, King Belmont won, pushing Big Red to second place. But, what made that battle so memorable wasn't the length or the entertainment. It was rather the sportsmanship they showed at the end. They were close friends even to this day!
At that time, Big Red had been a no name from a backwater Sicarius clan near the edge of the continent and King Belmont had been the first prince of the already established Belmont. But, they had come together anyway. This was why King Belmont was loved so dearly. He was a king that truly placed what was important first. He didn't care about Big Red's background, he only cared about his character.
After waiting patiently for the Belmonts and Sicarius to situate themselves, the elder turned his attention to the crowd as the blimp floated away.
This elder was actually a true elder of a God Clan. He was known as Elder Er Cavositas, and one would be right to think he was at least a mid level saint. This was because, in reality, he was a peak level saint with faint hopes of becoming a celestial. But, that hope was exactly that. Faint.
"As you all know," The elder began, "The world tournament isn't just about making a powerful display. We're also here to entertain – if we weren't, you all wouldn't be here!"
The elder lightly chuckled to himself as the crowd quietened down.
"The privilege of planning this grand event has been past onto us Cavositas. With our rich history of arena and fight clubs in Arena City, you can bet that we have great things planned for the following weeks!
Not only will we be providing food and side entertainment for all of you, we'll also be organizing evening events that give you all more opportunities to see your favorite warriors from afar!"
Cheering filled the stadium again, the booming voices really made it sound as though the entire planet was shaking. The impact of tens of millions in just one space was too great.
"Please, please! If you all get so excited about just that, I fear the planet might tear in half before events are through!
This year we have grand competitors. The top ten are more lethal than they have ever been, and the five beauties are unmatched through generations! In fact, between you and me." The elder leaned in as though he was speaking to someone privately, "I hear there's the appearance of a sixth beauty to match them!"
The elder stopped himself from saying Ri's name, remembering the demands of the person who had paid him handsomely.
"Better yet, there have been the rise of unprecedented young geniuses. It's best to not solely focus your eyes on the top ten to win the essence gathering awards this year, or else you'll miss out on all the young talents who simply haven't had the time to participate in enough campaigns yet!
In fact, this year we'll be adding a new rule to make sure you're all paying attention! The competitors will no longer be known by their names, they will from now on be referred to by their numbers!"
The elder spread his arms out causing hundreds of thousands of array tracking plates to appear in the air before they set off to their designated person. In the end, every registered participant received a plate. There was only a single one left with the elder, but, having expected this, he twirled it in his finger, a sinister smile playing on his face.
"With this new rule change, there will be less forfeits and more action! Not just that, but lower tier clans have a higher chance of succeeding because more prepared clans won't be able to prepare for them in advance! This makes the matches much more fair and will make the entertainment just that much more great!"
The crowd didn't need much convincing, they erupted into cheers, nearly bringing the stadium down again before Elder Er continued.
"Unfortunately, though. As you all can see, there's just one plate that hasn't been accounted for." The elder continued to twirl it in his fingers, allowing the monitors to focus in on his hands.
Ri froze at these words, 'This was planned!' Anger began rising in her heart as she felt Primrose's hand slip into hers, trying to reassure her.
At that same moment, Madeleine sat in the VIP sky box. She was technically meant to be amongst the geniuses, but, if she went down without the ability to speak, 'it would taint the image of the Sapientia' as her former master put it. As such, she was forced to stay here. But, she knew the real reason… The real reason was so that she couldn't see Dyon…
But, when she heard the words of the elder, a small pang of distress inconceivably hit her. 'Could it be?' Unfortunately, the more the elder continued to speak, the more and more sure Madeleine became that this missing person was in fact Dyon…
"Because we are aware that the first few days of the tournament are slow, we had allowed for a challenge to be dealt.
As you all may have realized, there's a newcomer by the name of the demon sage that topped the list in just one campaign!" The elder paused, allowing for the cheers to erupt before he stopped them. "Ah, ah. Don't be so quick to cheer.
We came to find out through the guild headquarters leader, the honorable Connery Sapientia, that this demon sage was actually a genius array alchemist! Because he had some small affinity for formations, he was lucky enough to stumble upon a way to manipulate the tracking devices and push himself past more deserving warriors to the number one spot!"
Shock reigned through the arena before boos began to fly. This was the ultimate form of shamelessness. The crowd was easily riled up by the words of the elder.
"Of course, this perpetrator categorically denies ever taking such actions, but who are we meant to believe? A person willing to cheat the hard work of those around him? Or a man like Connery Sapientia? A man who was once and still is an orphan. A man who was forced to name his own self. A man who this very day, stands before you all, as the head of the array alchemy and Sapientia God Clans of our universe!"
The crowd cheered, making their position clear. They chose with no hesitation.
The elder laughed. "Well, those who were present agree with you all too. So, in a last and desperate bid to cover his trail, this supposed demon sage challenged the honorable Connery Sapientia to a match. Claiming that should he lose, he would slave for the Sapientia for the rest of his life. And should he win, he would prove that he should be believed above the honorable Sapientia."
Laughter rang through the crowd. Beat the head of the guild headquarters? What kind of ridiculous notion was that? They saw the demon sage's act as pitiful.
Ri balled her fists, causing Primrose to wince in pain as she felt her small hand being crushed. 'They completely ignored the Viridi! And how Dyon didn't cheat! Dammit!'
"But," The elder chuckled, "As you can see, he didn't come. He cowered. Hiding himself away and running like the cheater he is."
Copious boos rang out from the crowd. Not only had this demon sage lied and cheated, he was a coward. And, worst yet, without him here, the entertainment that had been planned was ruined! They would have loved to see this demon sage lose!
In the other planet section, Eboni was chuckling to herself along with Ode. Even still Ulu was chuckling as well. Although Dyon not being here didn't bode well, it wasn't as though he left the planet. If worst came to worst, she could just wait for their elders to finish the important mission they had, then use their soul expertise to track him down.
"That said, we did prepare at least a small punishment for him." Pointing toward the VIP area kept exclusively for members of the top ten, the elder focused on the area reserved for number one: the demon sage.
The area was in complete shambles.
Where there were meant to be luxurious couches houses broken wooden benches. Where there was meant to be top of the line food housed moldy and cockroach infested breads and cheeses. And finally, where the sign that was meant to read 'Demon Sage' hung, it was spray painted over with the words 'The Cowardly Demon.'
As a finishing touch, the Cavositas had hired an artist to paint Dyon's likeness before blowing it up to be a large 15 by 15 meter poster. Then used it as the floor of a farm animal pen they housed in the very same area.
The projection of Dyon's face was sent through the universe even as fresh cow and pig manure fell from unsightly places and onto it.
Dyon had wanted to have his name known throughout the universes… Well, he had gotten his wish…