In the end, the top 20 rankers from Planet Nix and Mino had no choice but to try their luck and regain the positions their planets had lost. But, there was a reason they, themselves, hadn't been a part of the top ten to begin with. They were far inferior to those of their planet that had lost, so how could they succeed?
Caedlum was capable of leisurely taking care of two such wishful thinkers, and thus made it clear that his new health wasn't a façade – Dyon had truly cured him.
This raised Dyon's cache with the crowd even further. There wasn't a single person in the universe, who was currently watching, that didn't know Dyon's name by heart. But, it was no longer because they saw him as a coward. Instead, they saw him as an undisputed genius who had earned every right to be as arrogant as he had been.
Whether or not he cheated was something they had long stopped debating. It just didn't matter. In fact, there even came a faction of people who were a proponent of it being perfectly fine even if he did cheat. They believed that since it was his expertise in array alchemy that had benefited him, it had technically been his very own power that he relied on to rank highly. As a result, who were they to say he didn't deserve his rank.
"You go out and cheat if it's so easy," They'd say. It was clear that Dyon was beginning to build up his very own fanclub.
"Hmph, I liked it when he was less popular," Ri pouted.
Madeleine only giggled in response, taking Ri's arm in hers as they walked to a new set of stages.
The challenging of the top ten had concluded. Dyon had been challenged a few times by the end, but those challengers had never expected to win, they only wanted to test the waters and temper themselves. So, Dyon had gladly obliged. He hadn't even needed to get up, making use of his array alchemy to build defenses and send out spears was more than enough for him to secure his consecutive victories.
Aside from that, many had tried to test their luck with Vidar and Thor, just to see if they were tired from their battles. But, they had come up empty handed.
Now was the time to officially rank the bottom ninety rankers all before the most anticipated event of the tournament.
Who would stand at the top of the geniuses?
Would it be Tau Aumen? The man with the most experience and the most accumulated cultivation?
Would it be Lionel Belmont? A newly found number one, royal prince, and wielder of the almighty fire and ice flames?
Would it be Saru Shruti? A beauty beyond words, and new comer?
Or would it be yet another new comer in Zabia Jafari? A man with an outer appearance of a brute, but such fine and well tuned control of his wills that he would be noted as a genius wherever he was?
Or even yet, would it be the four completely new sprouts of those rankers? Caedlum? Thor? Vidar? Or would it be Dyon?
The penultimate battle would soon be upon them.
In a cave under the Belmont Holy Land mountain range.
"I don't understand, grandfather. What was the point of waiting all of this time if we were just going to infiltrate without the Belmonts anyway? Don't tell me we were worried about a measly King Belmont enough to wait for him to be gone to attack?"
A familiar sharp Asian teen stood clad in black. His aura had seemingly completely changed in the past year, and although he had begged his family for a chance to participate in the World Tournament, they had turned him down.
This young man was, of course, Daiyu Chenglei.
"I know that you're feeling restless about not being able to participate in the tournament, but that's no reason to start doubting your elders boy." Elder Daiyu reprimanded. "Do you know how vast this cosmos is? What use is there in ranking in such a small universe? There are competitions you may participate in for the future that are across entire quadrants! There are even inter quadrant competitions, and you're worried about this little world tournament?
Let me tell you, the only reason we even hold this tournament anymore is because we're not worthy of being invited to any other ones. Now stay focused."
Chenglei nodded obediently, staying quiet.
"We attack now, while King Belmont is away for many reasons. One, he isn't to be underestimated. Or, more accurately, his allies shouldn't be underestimated. The celestial deer sect paid a heavy price to shatter our daos and severely weaken us, so even our strongest are stuck within the realms of celestial experts.
You have no concept of how powerful the Elvin King is at his peak. But, even he isn't the one we really must worry about." Elder Daiyu paused, shaking his head. "There's no use in speaking of this. In all likelihood, they're aware that this is the best time for us to attack too. The only reason they aren't pressing us right now is because they know we also need them."
"You mean the reason we're attacking now is for leverage?..."
"Yes. We need to be in position for when the Belmonts do something only they can. But, the only reason we can do this is because –" Elder Daiyu looked around, "Where is Little Meiying?"
"I sent her away." Chenglei responded, "She's served her purpose of finding the entrance for us. She's just a trophy wife for me now, she has no use here. Once I complete my technique, I'll consummate our union."
Elder Daiyu shook his head, "You should value that girl. You have no idea how rare and powerful a feng shui compass will is. I dare say she may be the only one in the quadrant with such an ability. You saw for yourself, even that Jade girl's True Empath abilities weren't able to find the entrance. And yet Meiying succeeded easily."
Chenglei harrumphed, "That's why I sent her away first. She was already tainted by another. Since she's no longer of use, I don't see why I can't just directly kill her." Chenglei felt nothing but disdain when he thought of Jade. Not only was she now incomparably ugly, she had even boasted to him about time she spent with Dyon. Ridiculous! Chenglei's current impotence was a very sore spot for him, and she felt no qualms about pressing it.
"Never mind that. Hand me the box. Our family is still waging war above us, we can't delay. They need time to retreat before the tournament concludes."
Chenglei nodded, but when he looked down at his finger, his eyes widened. "My spatial ring…"
Suddenly, a corrosive laugh filled the hallway of the cave behind them as a masked girl with long silver hair appeared.
"Jade?" Chenglei's brows furrowed. "Didn't I tell you to leave?"
"You should adopt a nicer tone with me. Or else you'll never know what happened with that spatial ring of yours… nor will you find that box." Jade giggled lightly, relishing in the power she held.