Dyon's meridians trembled during his meditation, but he forcefully supressed it once again, unwilling to have a break through in his energy cultivation right now. He could almost sense his individual meridians slowly becoming a bottomless depth… As though they were approaching a limit of infinity. But, he calmed himself, knowing that the process would take much longer than it seemed.
Arivata and Jace's battle seemed to last the longest. Arivata was a body cultivator, much like Saru. But, she didn't have the same bodily transformation Saru did. It was either that her bloodline wasn't potent enough, or she hadn't tempered herself enough to be able to.
That said, it didn't stop her vibrational wills from being potent.
On the other side, though, Jace was clever enough to use his own form of counter. As a wind will expert, he was capable of copying Madeleine's methods in creating a vacuum to not allow the oscillations in the air to effect him. It was quite possible that had Jace never seen Madeleine's battle, he would have never understood this point. But, on the other hand, he deserved credit for being clever enough to figure out just what Madeleine was dong, why she was doing it, and how she was doing it.
In the end, though, Arivata managed to outlast Jace. Because of her body cultivation, her stamina was just that much better. Jace wasn't used to Madeleine's technique, and as such, was much less efficient and wasted a lot of energy. In the end, it was a recipe for his failure.
"Victor: Arivata Shruti!"
The battles continued until everyone had fought five total battles. Because Dyon had been called so frequently to begin with, he was conveniently not called up again. It was becoming very clear to everyone that these "random" matches, weren't so random after all.
Vidar boasted a single win against Dyon forfeit, and another against Thor's forfeit. However, he was clearly unhappy with it because aside from those two forfeits, he couldn't seem to buy another win. Even Caedlum who had conceded his other four matches decided to fight him and won!
After his fight against Vidar, Caedlum took that opportunity to pre-emptively forfeit his remaining matches along with Thor, leaving the two of them as the tenth and ninth ranked for the tournament. Thor, of course, being tenth and Caedlum being ninth.
Because of the two of them, everyone else had at least two wins, and would as such be ranked above them.
Coming into the final stages, Jace Clyte had 3 wins, having been lucky enough to receive three forfeits since he was one of Dyon's opponents during his absence.
Dyon also had 3 wins, two were forfeits, and one was up against Saru Shruti.
Because Dyon had held back, Saru was able to fight again after receiving treatment. Although she didn't seem to be in tip top shape considering her manifestation had been shattered, she had already been running through the competition even without her body transformation. In her current state, she was still confident in ranking within the top 5. But, her gaze seemed to shift over to Dyon much more often than she'd like to admit to herself. She couldn't help but think about not just the battle, but also Dyon's pointed statement about her true age…
The top contestants had yet to meet each other aside from Zabia and Tau. However, that match had been quite lack luster, resulting in Tau's win. Dyon had found that match odd himself, but he was busy trying to consolidate what he had learned.
Among the remaining contestants, only Tau Aumen and Lionel Belmont remained unblemished by losses. With there being a 4 ways tie for wins between Dyon, Vidar, Jace and Arivata, many thought that the rankings were fairly set when it came to the very top.
However, that was only until Arivata and Dyon were both called onto the stage and Arivata directly conceded in gratitude for Dyon protecting their young mistress' dignity.
With that, Dyon, Saru and Zabia became tied, each with four wins, with only Lionel and Tau above them with five.
Then, Saru and Zabia fought. It was a great battle, but it was once again odd… Saru won, moving ahead to five wins. But, Dyon couldn't help but once again feel as though there was something off about Zabia. His eyes seemed cold… Too cold. And yet, his killing intent wasn't being unleashed on his opponent… He seemed to be waiting for something… No… Someone…
The wins and losses no longer mattered to him… Again and again he ran over in his head what he had learned just earlier that day, but he couldn't seem to focus his anger… Not when it was on the wrong person.
Just earlier that morning, Zabia had been elated. His mother had accidentally let it slip that a few months earlier, she had sensed life within his wife, Ulu. However, she had chosen not to say anything because that was a moment a husband and a wife should share together. Often times, married couples would withhold such information from the public until a proper amount of time had passed – only then would they share it with family and friends.
But… Zabia's mother was beginning to get antsy. 'It's been almost three months now.' She had said. 'Why haven't you two let me know I have a grandchild coming along.'
Her words had been so cheerful and teasing. It sent Zabia into a frenzy, complete happiness overwhelmed his senses as he too playfully berated his wife for being too cautious and reserved.
'You're too calculating little Ulu. How could you not tell your husband!' He had laughed so uproariously, playfully putting his ear to his wife's stomach.
He hadn't noticed Ulu's lips tremble. He hadn't noticed her countenance pale. And by the time he had, and the stinging pain assaulted his senses… It was too late to take any of it back…
All of his joy… All of his anticipation… All of his plans…
All of it came crashing down…
"Next Match. Dyon Sacharro vs Zabia Jafari."