Ode's technique erupted. Air particles rushed outward so quickly that anything in its way was violently bombarded with heat that could melt the bones of even essence gathering level experts.
Madeleine and Ri's ice and fire rose into the air, fueling the explosion even further as the sharp cool and hot air burst into a tornado of ice and fire.
The ground shattered as clouds of dust burst from the ground. The tiles ripped upwards, leaving an ever deepening crater in its wake.
It was as though a meteor had crashed down from the skies. The heat threatened to burn everything in its wake and the patches of cold threatened to freeze you down to your core. The blast was unforgiving and relentless, spreading outwards hundreds of meters.
The crowd didn't know how to feel. One moment, they were enjoying a battle of beauties, and the very next, an explosion of unprecedented magnitude had blurred their vision to what was going on.
But, what was clear was that there were casualties. And many at that.
Many of the warriors who had stood near the arena and hadn't been caught in Ri's initial ice blast screamed in agony as their skin singed and blistered.
Many lost limbs and maybe even more died. The blast was unforgiving and didn't discriminate. Those that died were already among the weakest to begin with. These were the warriors given a second chance, and as such, they were many of the warriors not powerful enough to be worthy of the top 100 ranks. How could they possibly survive such a blast?
From beginning to end, less than a second had passed. And yet, the damage caused was irreparable.
Elder Den stood in the skies completely unfazed. A thick shield of saint energy covered him, leaving him completely untouched. After all, how could a blast caused by lower saint level energy ever effect him as a peak saint?
That said, he still chuckled to himself silently. 'Maybe if I'm lucky that Dyon eyesore will die in this explosion too. After all, he was fairly close to the arena to being with.'
The dust began to settle, and only then did Elder Den begin to compose himself, trying to adjust his features into the proper level of condolence. He at least had to pretend as though he cared about these deaths, anyway.
Aside from Ri, Madeleine, Ode and Eboni, there had been six other nearby participants that made up the rest of the top 20. However, from beginning to end, none of them had fought a single battle. Unlike the weaker warriors though, they had immediately sensed the danger and left the radius of the blast as soon as they had sensed saint energy. To them, those four were without a doubt dead!
Ode had never expected her attack to back fire upon herself, but she had underestimated Madeleine far too much. Madeleine was far too intelligent.
The Horus clan's air condensation technique made used of compressed air to reach atomic bomb level of blasts to even beyond that. However, that relied on the air's innate want to be separated and free – a property that would become even more violent as the air heated. This was why water became a gas. The hotter an area was, the more agitated particles became, and the more volatile they acted.
However, Madeleine hadn't stopped there. She then went to further use her Phoenix cry ability to even further agitate the technique.
While the heat pushed it to the sixth level of condensation, something that should have only been possible after Ode truly stepped into the saint realm, the music will vibrated the air even more violently to push it to the eighth level of condensation!
The technique became too much of Ode to even think of controlling, causing it to crack and burst in on itself before it could even reach Madeleine!
The original form of the technique was meant to combine the blast with a sheet of protection so that only the target would suffer. The higher level of condensation, the stronger this layer had to be. But, Madeleine had completely destroyed this layer of protection, causing the blast radius to expand violently.
In the end, the time it took for the dust to settle took longer than even the end of the battles itself. The crowd could only look down at a massive crater spanning hundreds of meters. But, the truly awe inspiring part was that it was just as deep as it was wide…
Elder Den took a deep breath, shaking his head in practiced sympathy, "It is a shame that the final preliminary rounds had to come to a conclusion in such a way."
Femi Geb, who was off in the Planet Deimos section trembled in anger. That was his little sister! She wasn't supposed to die! 'Dyon!'
An irrational anger came over him. As though it was all Dyon's fault that this had happened to begin with.
'If he hadn't cheated, I would have never had to do this! I'll kill you with my own hands!'
"However, this is the way of the martial world," Elder Den continued. "Those who aren't fated must make way for those who are… It is only a shame that they were so talented and beautiful and yet died so young…"
Suddenly, a flash of gold caused Elder Den to freeze.
"You…" The words stammered out of his mouth even as everyone in attendance trained their gaze into the air just above the crater.
There stood Dyon leisurely, a small smile playing his features. Ri stood to his left, her face a bit pale at the strain of pushing herself so far, but very much still alive. To his right stood Madeleine, her face the picture of serenity despite the thin layer of sweat that covered her delicate features.
It was clear that they had both exerted themselves to the extreme. But, they were still perfectly healthy.
That said, what shocked people the most wasn't just the presence of those three. It was the appearance of two more girls. Ode and Eboni…
They dropped down to the round, confusion coloring their features as they looked around. A mere moments ago they could have sworn that they were dead!
A faint happiness caused them to look at each other and laugh. They were alive!
Femi breathed a sigh of relief, his anger dissipating somewhat, but his resolve to kill Dyon still very strong. He didn't seem to realize that it was because of Dyon that his sister was alive at all. Or, more accurately, he didn't care.
'Saving her isn't going to save you. The fact you even did so shows that you're scared of me. Do you think you're doing me a favor? I'm going to stomp your head down beneath my feat!' Femi sneered as he looked at Dyon in the skies.
"Thadius!" Dyon's voice boomed. In an instant, a robust man appeared by Dyon's side, a serene expression on his face as he waited for his orders.
Dyon looked down at Ode and Eboni who were still smiling to themselves.
"Do you know why I saved you two?" Dyon asked, his voice being projected to the whole arena.
Eboni's smile twisted into a frown as she looked up at Dyon. "Why are you asking the obvious? It's clearly because you're afraid of my elder brother's retaliation. You're nothing but a fake ranker and you're willing to do anything to maintain that façade for as long as possible. Heck, Iris is from your planet, you probably gave her some benefits to lose on purpose."
Ode sneered to the side, clearly agreeing with her enemy's sentiments. Why else would Dyon save them? He was scared of the retaliation of their planet's geniuses, obviously. Ode's elder sibling wasn't in the real top ten like Eboni's, but they were still ranked high in the top 20. It's clear Dyon didn't want to face him.
"Wrong." Dyon's smile didn't fade. "I saved you two because I didn't want any misunderstandings."
"Obviously." Ode sneered, "That's what we said. You want to save yourself."
Dyon shook his head, "I just didn't want anyone thinking that you died because I had an inability to save you from the blast."
Confusion colored Ode and Eboni's features. What was he talking about?
"It's simple really," Dyon continued, "Had you died in the explosion, and I only saved my wives, people might think it was because I had an inability to save more than two people. If people thought that, then they wouldn't know that I had deliberately let you die."
"What?..." Ode and Eboni spoke at once.
"Still don't get it?" Dyon's eyes sharpened. "I want everyone here to know that your lives were in my hands, and I chose to end them.
"Kill them both."
Ode and Eboni only had time for despair and unwillingness to flash in their eyes. Femi didn't even have the time to move an inch. He couldn't rage like he usually did. And he certainly couldn't stop what was happening.
Saint energy slowly descended from the skies, crushing the two at a leisurely enough pace for them to hear Dyon's final words to them before their eyes dimmed for the final time as their bodies were grinded into paste.
"I thought I had made it very clear that your ranks mean nothing to me?"