Dyon sat silently, watching as Ri and Madeleine proudly stepped onto the stages.
Suddenly, a piercing and rumbling voice entered his ears, "Watch carefully. Let your anger stew. I want to defeat you at your peak so I'll be sure to tell me juniors to slowly tear your wives apart."
Dyon didn't need to look to figure out who this rumbling voice was from. It was clearly Femi Geb.
But, he kept his emotions locked within himself. How often had he tried to allow Ri and Madeleine to grow on their own? He had trusted them during his first campaign. It was time to do so again.
That said, this Femi character would die. And he would die a horrible death.
Almost immediately, their plan was put into motion. There in no time, there was a line of eager challengers waiting – and it was no secret to anyone that most stood before Ri and Madeleine.
However, the crowd didn't think anything of it. After all, Ri and Madeleine were 7th and 8th ranked. Seeing as there was no 9th for this bracket, they were the weakest by rank. To the crowd, it only made sense that they had the most challengers.
Madeleine calmly took out her lyre. She remembered the day that Dyon had first gifted this to her – it was the same day she had decided that she always wanted him by her side.
In response, her first opponent stepped onto the ring. He was a no-name and completely unranked, but Madeleine hadn't expected anything different. After all, they likely wanted to tire her first.
That said, the weapon he took out made it clear that he had ever intention of going all out.
On Ri's platform, she too prepared herself as her first opponent stepped onto the stage. Because she was ranked last, it was likely that even more challengers would come to her. But, she was ready.
Madeleine's opponent laughed, looking at her weapon. "My senior brother told me that I should have a nice time playing with you. But, from what I see, your husband seems to favor one of his wives more. Her weapon is clearly much better than yours."
Ri's opponent laughed, "It seems he's quite selfish. He probably favors whoever the newer wife is. I wonder how long it'll take him to forget you too."
They were clearly trying to agitate Madeleine and Ri, grasping onto whatever they could to make them spend more energy than they needed to. Ri and Madeleine knew this, so they didn't say anything.
Ri knew very well that Dyon loved them both equally. The fact he hadn't offered Madeleine a transcendent weapon only meant one thing.
Dyon raised himself in the air, lording over proceedings. With a wave of his hand, the array he had long since placed on Madeleine's lyre shattered.
A resplendent glow filled the arena as Madeleine smiled and plucked the first string.
In a flood of white light, Madeleine's music will tore through its bottleneck, ascending to an intent in the an instant.
Her opponent felt his legs weaken as all the strength seemed to leave his body. The soothing nature of Madeleine's music filled the arena and it also quite subtly boosted Ri too, but not too much less they be accused of cheating.
The words of Ri's opponent were caught in his throat. He had just said nonsense about how Dyon favoured one over the other, but it was very clear that he had provided them both with high level weapons. Although he couldn't tell of what level, it was clear enough that what he had said was completely ridiculous.
Ri didn't bother to transform as she flashed forward, she wanted to maintain her stamina at its peak for the longest time possible. Well, the truth was that with Ri's cultivation, it was almost a joke for them to want to tire her out. Who could match a void kitsune in stamina? It was ridiculous.
Ri's sword felt like an extension of her hand. Without her previous handicap, she could flood her energy into her weapon without reserve. Her once crude and clunky sword play became fierce and ferocious.
Her bestial aura flashed as a growl escaped her delicate lips and her canines flashed.
Madeleine's opponents fell to his knees, his ears bleeding. The tune that was so sweet to everyone else was nothing but a death sentence to him. From beginning to end, Madeleine had not moved a single inch even as Ri's sword cleaved downwards.
From beginning to end, the first matches lasted but an instant. In the time it took, none of the other rankers had even accepted challenges yet. There was not a single pair of eyes not focused on either Ri or Madeleine.
And then, Ri's opponent too collapsed to his knees. A clear line of blood ran down the center of his face as shock colored his features. He hadn't even been able to see his demise. All he felt was an endless abyss of darkness and the feeling of everything being torn from him. He hadn't even had the time to comprehend the fact that he had been cut in two.
Dyon watched this scene, an anger still boiling in his heart. Ri didn't mind killing, but he knew fully well that this was Madeleine's first. She had never taken it so far before, but she, just like he had thought, realized that there was only one clean way out of this mess.
The most important people in Madeleine's life were Ri, Delia and Dyon. Although she avoided killing whenever possible, she never turned away from it. From Dyon killed, she supported him. And now, in order to prevent those most important people in her life from suffering, she too killed.
Dyon's voice rumbled through the arena, a clear and deep anger reverberating as his music intent stomped on the hearts of those who had queued and eager to challenge Ri and Madeleine.
"You can challenge my wives if you like." He said faint. "But know it'll mean your death."