Seeing Ri, Uncle Acacia gave her a massive hug as he usually did before passing Ri off to his elder brother.
King Acacia looked down at his daughter with a sad expression on his features. His large hand found a way to her hair, rubbing if gently. But, Ri didn't seem to buy any of that, so she leapt into his arms, hugging his waist tightly.
Clara had insisted that this was a family matter. So, against Dyon's wishes, he had handed her off to Venus and Delia below. He didn't want her to be in an environment like this without him, but her cold eyes had given him an 'I'm not budging' look, so he had no choice but to oblige.
That said, Dyon found his way to a couch seat and sat beside Madeleine leisurely. Clearly unperturbed by the seemingly odd atmosphere in the room.
Lionel came over to greet Madeleine. But, after a few stiff interactions, he went back to his seat. He hadn't bothered to say hello to Dyon, but on the same hand, Dyon hadn't spared him a glance.
In this room filled with outstanding lineages and powerful family ties, it was clear that Dyon was the odd man out. Even Madeleine, who thought she was in the same shoes as Dyon, was actually more connected to these people than she knew.
Ava wasn't present. Realizing that she wouldn't get her chance to fight Tammy, she had settled for fighting for a spot on the meridian formation rankings and was currently below improving her stock.
In the end, King Acacia offered Ri a seat by him and Queen Acacia, but Ri shook her head and instead sat to Dyon's right while Madeleine continued to sit on his left. It was clear that father's opinion or not, she chose Dyon.
Soon, the room became even more quiet than it had been before.
King Belmont, his wife, child and two sons sat in one corner. Big Red, his wife, and eldest son sat in another. King and Queen Acacia sat facing Dyon, Ri and Madeleine. And last but not least, Uncle Acacia stood awkwardly to the side, conflicted. On one hand he loved and respected his elder brother. But, on the other hand, he had seen first hand the kind of man Dyon was. He had already proven that he deserved Ri. This was wholly unnecessary. Especially for a father who had been absent for more than ten years.
"You're quite rude not to pay respects to you parents in law, don't you think?" King Acacia's voice finally broke the silence.
Ri's brows furrowed, clearly wanting to say something. It wasn't in her personality to hold back, even when it came to her own father. But, a strong hand found its way to hers.
She looked up to find Dyon still smiling.
Madeleine had to try and withhold her giggle. She had seen this smile one too many times. But, what she had never seen was this smile come out on the losing end.
Seeing Dyon's intimacy with his daughter, King Acacia imperceptibly leaks some of his cultivation. But, he could only pretend as though nothing had happened when Dyon didn't react.
"Do you have nothing to say for yourself?"
"That depends." Dyon responded.
"On what exactly?"
"Is my father in law someone capable of admitting when he's wrong? Or is he like every other supposed elder I've met who thinks his way is the only way?"
Queen Acacia sighed as she turned a gaze toward King Belmont. It seemed he was right again. This wasn't a child who ever saw it fit to lower his head.
"I don't remember agreeing to be your father in law." King Acacia's lip twitched.
"You are Ri's father. She is already my wife. Whether you agree or not, it's already a fact." Dyon explained slowly.
King Acacia remained silent, scanning Dyon's features. But, no matter how hard he looked, he couldn't find any semblance of wavering confidence. In fact, when his gaze shifted to his daughter, all he found was a small smile and look that seemed to be almost borderline reverence toward this boy.
"Tell me." King Acacia spoke, "What would you answer have been should I be able to change my mind? And what would you answer have been should I be as stubborn as the other elders."
Dyon smiled. "If you were as stubborn, I would have nodded and agreed with you."
King Acacia nodded in satisfaction until he heard Dyon's next words.
"And then I would never associate with you again."
Queen Acacia snorted, holding back a bit of laughter along with King Belmont. It was clear at least the two of them were having a good time.
"If you had the ability to change your mind, though. I would tell you that I was only about as rude as a father who hadn't seen his daughter in eleven years, and yet insisted she come to greet him instead of the vice versa." Dyon's eyes flashed with a hint of aggression that disappeared just as quickly as it appeared. It wasn't lost on him that Queen Acacia was the only one to come out. In fact, his small smile had been one of pent up irritation. He remembered how many tears Ri had shed for this man, and yet he had never told her where he was going, never sent any messages, then just one day showed back up perfectly healthy and had the audacity to make them come to him? If Dyon was strong enough, he would have let his fists do the talking instead of his words.
King Acacia froze, his eyes darkening. "What did you say?"
Dyon didn't respond. It was obvious that King Acacia had heard his words – and very clearly at that.
Queen Acacia no longer giggled, but she didn't say anything. She too was unsatisfied with how her husband had handled the situation. He had even tried to make her stay behind too.
"To speak to your own father in law like this. It's clear why you're nothing but a commoner from the dregs of the mortal realm." Lionel spoke out from the side of the room, leisurely sipping on spiritual wine.
Dyon didn't care to respond, instead continuing his stare down with King Acacia.
"Are you not going to respond? Or do you only talk big when you can use my daughter as a shield?" King Acacia asked, probing further. In his estimation, Dyon was only being so bold because he knew he would never attack him because of Ri.
"What a useless question. Why would I bother responding to either one of those Belmont boys? All they know how to do is drool over my women from a distance. Would you respond to such people?"
Elwing, Lionel's younger brother grit his teeth in anger. He hadn't said anything, but Dyon had still dragged him into this. But, he had witnessed Dyon's feats unlike his elder brother. He had a respect for Dyon that Lionel didn't have. As such, he said nothing.
Lionel however, didn't seem perturbed on the surface – remaining deadpan. But, a fire was slowly boiling over inside of him.
King Acacia raised an eyebrow. "Where is all of this confidence coming from? Did cheating really make you feel as though you have the cache to say these things."
Ri stood abruptly, "Dyon didn't cheat! I can't believe you would say something like that!"
Taking Madeleine's hand, Dyon stood too.
"I think we'll be on our way now." Dyon smiled.
Ri was stuck. She thought that Dyon was leaving her behind because of her father, but his next move shattered all of that.
"Little feu glace? What are you doing just standing there?" Dyon stretched out his free hand.
Seeing their daughter sigh in relief to something as simple as a hand made King and Queen Acacia very clear on how deep her love ran.
King Acacia wanted to stretch out and stop Ri from leaving, but he suddenly felt a pinch on his arm. He looked to his side to find a very angry wife.
"Don't you dare. You've done enough." Kawa's canines grew and her eyes narrowed into slits as her bestial aura overflowed. It was clear she was pissed.
King Acacia' brow furrowed. But, he too thought it would be too much to keep his daughter from Dyon. So, he lowered his hand. That said, Dyon's last words almost made him regret that decision.
"Imagine that." Dyon turned back before he stepped into the skies with Ri and Madeleine by his side, his eyes burning with a dense black flame. "A supposed king so easily swayed by public opinion. It's no wonder it took a commoner to save your kingdom."
King Acacia nearly exploded. But, by the time his vision cleared, Dyon, his daughter, and his god daughter, were gone.