Meiying continuously shook her head, furiously rubbing her tears away on Dyon's shirt and trying to stop them from falling. No one knew more than her how important time was. 'I can't be crying right now!'
However, as much as she wanted to, she couldn't.
Dyon didn't press her. At this point, he cared little for what big moves the Daiyu were making and what the ramifications would be. What would happen would happen, but there was no reason why a girl just about his age should have to carry such a burden on her own. She had earned every right to cry as she pleased and Dyon dared anyone to say otherwise.
As for the World Tournament? That was even further from his mind. He hadn't hesitated to abandon it when he knew Meiying's life was on the line, and since he was already gone, whether he came back sooner or later didn't matter to him.
"I'm – I" Meiying tried to speak, but she couldn't get the words out.
"There's nothing left you need to do." Dyon said softly. "Even if you want to wash your hands clean of this and pretend it never happened, I wouldn't blame you. The day Madeleine became my wife is the day you and Delia became my little sisters. Do you understand?"
Meiying's tears erupted to an all new level. All the previous apprehensions and misgivings she had crumbled as she let go, collapsing in Dyon's arms.
Thadius, who hadn't been in Dyon's ring, but had of course followed Dyon after seeing his odd movements, appeared beside River and Ronica.
River snorted, "You should take notes from the successor. This is how you should treat women. Brute."
Thadius could only helplessly look from River and Ronica, sighing in defeat. Inwardly, he praised Dyon. 'Too good. Too good.'
Time passed, but eventually, Meiying was able to grasp a hold of her bearings. The past two years of her life were a testament to how mentally tough she was, she refused to let something like this set her back for too long.
"Heh," Meiying laughed through sobs, "I think I ruined your shirt more than Madeleine did on her wedding day. Speaking of which, you didn't have a wedding ceremony without me, right?"
Dyon laughed, "Of course not. Even if I brought it up, she'd refuse unless you were there."
Meiying lightly pushed Dyon away, wiping her red and puffy eyes before lightly patting herself on the cheeks. It was truly adorable.
Dyon looked at Meiying with a tinge of regret in his eyes. He shouldn't have agreed to her doing it, he knew it. But…
"You know Meiying, the very fact the object you stole were what they were told me a lot… In fact, it told me a lot more than you know…" Dyon spoke seriously, he meant what he said. The fact those objects in particularly were so key to the plan of the Daiyu let him know a lot. He never thought he'd say it, but he had to thank Elwing for that.
"Really?" Meiying's violet eyes sparkled, looking up at Dyon.
"Of course. And, considering how much time you spent with them, I have no doubt that you know other things of importance. Anything you can think of, no matter how miniscule or seemingly unimportant might help greatly. The time you spent there won't have been in vein. I promise."
Meiying nodded, smiling light, "There was a lot I learned… But, much of it was about Daiyu history and how they came into conflict with your celestial deer sect."
"Father in law told me about this last night, actually. I believe it had to do with the marriage to my master and the Dragon King?"
"Yes. That was the start of the animosity, but in the end, that was only a drop in the bucket… The sad truth is had that event not happened, the Daiyu might have even sided with the celestial deer sect. Unfortunately, the Daiyu Patriarch at the time, and my former grandfather in law, was one of the three Daiyus who were claimed to be the best fits for the 25th White Mother … So, you might guess that he had little will to cooperate with the celestial deer sect."
Dyon sighed. Why was the Martial World always so petty about women?
"Truth be told though… I don't think this is as black and white as choosing the side of good or evil," Meiying added softly. "Elder Daiyu had no reason to explain himself to me, especially since he thought I was sealed. And yet, he did so anyway…"
Hearing this, Dyon's eyes could only soften. Elder Daiyu was still, at the end of the day, someone who treasured the life of his grandson. And, for better or worse, he had tried to leave a warning for Dyon about trusting the Martial World. If Dyon had known that leaving that warning had cost him decades off of his already shortened life, he might have felt even more sympathy.
The Martial World was a cruel place where people often had to do cruel things for the sake of their families. Elder Daiyu had chosen his side based on dignity, and it was likely that the side he chose might have given him great benefits. In the end, hadn't he been right? The celestial deer sect was gone, and although his family was greatly crippled… They had survived.
"I can't be sure, but it sounds like he holds some regret about his actions. But, it's much too late for him to change course," Meiying said solemnly.
"Why is that?" Dyon asked. It seemed like Meiying was leading up to something… It didn't make sense otherwise. Why wouldn't the Daiyu be able to turn back? Their enemies were gone?... No? The Elves were greatly crippled too. The celestial deer sect was gone. And the Kitsune weren't even in the quadrant anymore. So, what was the problem?...
"The entity that they're in business with…" Meiying said softly, "Has more control over this situation than anyone knows or wants to know…"