Ri and Madeleine stood silently, each to either side of Dyon. The crowd was trying its best to see what was going on by reading their body language, but they couldn't make out anything.
The reason Connery went silent was because he noticed that Dyon hadn't only shut off the function of the array, he reversed its action. Instead of projecting voices, the array was now acting as a sound wall. The leap in difficulty made Connery painfully aware that Dyon was right. He would lose…
But, how did he know that Connery was involved in his attack? Could it be?...
"I'm glad we don't have to do the whole back and forth 'I didn't do it' thing. Truth is, I not only know you were involved, I also know which clan the person who attacked me is from. After all, there's only one that makes use of red crystals that also has motive to hurt me."
Connery's lip twitched. Was he really having such difficulty dealing with a child?
Dyon couldn't have been more right. The reason the Madeleine impersonator had disappeared even under Thadius' eyes was because Connery had used a concealment array.
Originally, Dyon had been fatigued after spending the day curing the Viridi. He had overexerted his soul, so when he saw Madeleine, he didn't even bother to scan before he hugged her. He missed her too much.
But, after being stabbed, Dyon was on full alert. He immediately picked up the fluctuations of a created array. After that, it being obvious that his attacker had the help of an exceptionally skilled formation specialist.
"That said, I don't think it's too important right now, right? I'll be paying this person back in the coming stages of the tournament."
Connery frowned, "You still haven't explained how allowing you freedom from this battle helps me."
"It should be obvious. I've already said that you would lose. But, aside from that, there's the fact you get to have the moral high-ground of a senior. You can say you allowed me off the hook after reprimanding me as a senior." Dyon shrugged.
This was definitely not Dyon's only reason. There was something else he was worried about other than offending the celestial experts, and that was the mystery behind the suppression of array alchemy.
Even Dyon wasn't 100% certain in defeating Connery Sapientia if he held himself to one discipline. But, if he combined the disciplines, it would likely alert the wrong people – especially since Connery was the highest authority the guilds had in this universe. It was likely that he was the connect to other universes' guilds.
And, this was of course something that Dyon couldn't afford to lose. If it came down to it, he would combine the two disciplines, because if he didn't, he would become a slave. Something he refused to allow.
In the end, it was best for both parties that this event be canceled. But, Dyon had to make sure that Connery thought this was an olive leaf he was extending to avoid confrontation and lay low. At the same time, Connery couldn't be allowed to know the true reason why Dyon had to lay low, or else he could take advantage.
Dyon was apprehensive about the celestial experts who were here, yes. But, he was even more wary of those moving in the shadows. It was too early for them to set their sights on Dyon.
After promising himself to take better account of his actions in the future, this was the best course of action. In fact, Dyon had already planned this the day he challenged Connery. After all, he had to say something to earn the Viridi family's freedom. But, at the same time, he couldn't afford to win this contest.
"Is that all?" Connery asked. There was something missing here.
"No. There's one more thing. This is where Elder Er comes in. He's likely already removed my candidacy for the top ten. And, because I'm withdrawing from our battle, it's almost like I admit to cheating. Well, not really, considering beating you shouldn't be what clears my name, but that's how fools will take it. That's fine.
The point I'm getting is that I can't simply be reinserted into the top ten. But, at the same time, I have no intention of skipping out on this tournament. This'll give you more chances to kill me, don't you think?"
Connery and Elder Er's lips twitched. Was this boy still trying to toy with them?
"The compromise here is that you'll directly insert me into the final round of this as a chance to 'prove myself'." Dyon smiled, waiting for their response.
Madeleine tried to refrain from giggling. She had seen that smile too often. Sure, she could tell that this compromise would lead to some scorn for Dyon, but how long would that last? And in all the years she had know Dyon… How often did he take a loss?
Dyon began to walk away. It was clear they had accepted, there was no need for him to hear anything else. With a flash of his eyes, Dyon his a smirk as he undid his changes to the array.
"Oh. And for the record," Dyon sent a direct message to Connery and Elder Er using wind will, "I recorded the conversation. Tread lightly."
The veins in Connery's forehead threatened to pop at these words. He soon realized that he had underestimated Dyon yet again. He hadn't only reversed the role of the array, he had completely changed its function!
Connery was thoroughly convinced of his loss. But, that didn't stop him from smiling to the crowd and leisurely heading back to the Sapientia sky box with Ester by his side, leaving Elder Er to explain.
However, Elder Er never got the chance to. When Dyon and his entourage receded, the Cavositas immediately sent in a replacement elder. That was the last anyone heard of Elder Er.
Dyon held onto Ri and Madeleine's small hands as he walked away. The smile on his face was so large that Ri couldn't help but roll her eyes. "Pervert."
Madeleine giggled, shifting her hand to wrap her arms around Dyon's and laying her head on his shoulder. She finally felt happy.