Hearing the rustling of moving feet, Dyon turned his gaze from Madeleine to find Ri with a few other elves.
Celine and Opal especially seemed to have overly excited expressions on their face as they sent quick glances toward Madeleine.
Dyon could barely stifle his laughter, "It seems you have some fans."
Madeleine playfully slapped Dyon's hands away and got up to say hello and be introduced by Ri. It didn't seem to take long for them to become the best of friends. But, Dyon was so distracted that he almost didn't notice Zaltarish come in with them.
"Dyon! This isn't fair!" Zaltarish plopped down on the couch beside Dyon followed by Arios and Thadius, all of whom were looking at Dyon with varying degrees of jealousy.
Dyon looked at his wrist as though he had a watch on it, "Well would you look at the time, it seems like the final round is about to start!"
Just as they were about to pull Dyon back, the booming voice of Elder Den pierced through the stadium, causing the loud cheering of the crowd to erupt again.
"This is it, ladies and gentlemen! The final round! But, I believe you all know that there's more at stake than just the available positions. This is about the pride of warriors. A pride that has been continuously stepped on by a shameless fool. A shameless fool that took the extended olive branch of the Sapientia family and trampled on it before the public.
All monitors panned to Dyon's newly formed top ten area, causing boos to rain down. But, all they found was a young man wearing a plain white T shirt and black sweat pants rolled to his calves. Well, that and there was a girl sleeping soundly on an array behind him.
He seemed oblivious to the anger he had stirred even as 2300 warriors intent of tearing him limb from limb, ran, flew, leaped and bounded their way to the center of the arena.
Turning back toward Madeleine and Ri who had stood with worried expressions on their faces, Dyon grinned. "If I ask for two kisses, how mad do you think that would make them?"
Ri rolled her eyes even as Madeleine giggled, "Be safe." They both said.
Dyon smiled light, nodding before stepping into the air with the help of his arrays. But, before he could get far, he heard an obnoxious voice from behind him.
"So this is our supposed prince consort? Our so-called princess is just a fool, but I wonder what pills you fed Madeleine Sapientia to get her to agree to be with you. Imagine making this big show just to die." Clarice Grimbold stood beside Fiora with a sneer on her face.
Dyon raised an eyebrow, "Listen, generic mean girl 1 and 2. I advise you watch your mouths. Out of respect for my father in law, though. I won't kill the citizens of his kingdom without adequate reason. That said, you should pay attention to the two behind you, or else you won't get to see whether I die or not."
Not bothering to explain, Dyon flew off into the air, finding his way in an encirclement of thousands, all seemingly waiting for the start announcement to tear him to shreds.
There seemed to be a drastic difference between them and Dyon. They wore armors and wielded elaborate weapons. Some had even already drawn these weapons, ready to fight for the remaining 790 spots. But, Dyon was the picture of calm. Even as he protected Delia's floating figure, his hands remained in his pockets as his bare feet graced the hard stone of the arena floor.
"We have one more thing to tell you brave heroes before you fight!"
The tense atmosphere around the warriors was peaking. Some barely heard the words of the elder even as the crowd's noise increased again and again.
"As you all know, there are meant to be 2300 of you. Unfortunately, due to the selfishness of another, this number has been increased to 2301. This is of course highly unfair to all of you since the spots are being maintained as 790. So, in the interest of balancing the fairness, we've made a new rule.
The person to land the finishing blow on the cowardly demon will be automatically admitted into the final rounds regardless of how many there are left."
The eyes of the remaining geniuses flashed. Although they hadn't been focused on the words before, they sure were now.
"In addition to this, a review panel will be watching this match to gauge how you contributed to said final blow. Should you be among the top 100 in inflicting damage to the cowardly demon, you will also receive an automatic spot regardless of how many there are left."
Hearing these new "fair" rules, Madeleine and Ri couldn't help but grit their teeth in anger. This was nothing less than forcing Dyon to battle all 2300 alone!
"The last tidbit is for the audience! Betting has opened up early! You can big on who you think will be among this 100 to inflict the most damage and also on how long the cowardly demon will last!"
Cheers erupted as the betting monitors started going off wildly. The world tournament made use of array naming plates to teleport bids to a set location and automatically record them. With the announcement of Elder Den, the crowd had begun wildly bidding. Some big on who would make the top 100 in damage, but most bid on time.
In the end, the over-under on Dyon length for survival was set to 1 minute.
Suddenly, Dyon cleared his throat. "Just wondering about something," a small smile playing his features.
Elder Den turned a sneering glare toward Dyon, "Would you like to back out? We won't stop you, of course."
Dyon snorted, "As if. Against competition like this?"
Dyon's words sent a new wave of anger through the 2300 contestants, but he completely ignored that even as the boos of the crowd joined.
"Am I allowed to bet?"
"Of course not. If you bet 0 seconds and then quit immediately, won't that be too convenient?"
Dyon laughed. "I'm not betting on length of time unless I can bet on how long it will take me to beat them all."
Hearing the words of Dyon's, even the patriarchs began to sit at the edge of their seats. Was this boy really all talk? Or was he really worth the number one spot? Was he being so arrogant to prove a point?