Time flow returned to normal in an instant as the raging clouds in the sky crackled with black streaked of lightning.
Since Dyon's apparent death, little more than ten minutes had passed. And since the appearance of the key? Less than a second.
King Acacia was at a loss. He didn't know what to do.
His wife was likely consoling their daughter, trying to get Ri to calm down and not do anything too reckless. It was up in the air whether she had even noticed what was going on. And, even if she had, it was another question mark as to whether she would act or not. To Kawa, there was nothing more important than her daughter. After being away for eleven years, it was unlikely that she'd be willing to fight for such a worldly matter while Ri was in pain.
The other problem was whether or not it was worth it to reveal themselves now. He knew that despite their best efforts, Patriarch Ragnor knew of their connection with King Belmont, but, the larger issue was whether or not he saw them as a threat.
Very few knew of Queen Acacia's origins, and by proxy, very few knew of her power. In addition to this, with King Acacia's entering display, many of the clan heads would have come to an understanding of his power – and have also likely concluded that he was fairly weak. Which meant that if they waited, they could still bide their time and use the element of surprise.
Yet another problem was seen in the choice of whether to act at all. With King Belmont's order in place, everyone understood that they weren't meant to move. There was a possibility that that might be enough to hold people back from charging toward Dyon's treasure. However, if King Acacia acted, it would be like putting up a beacon, letting everyone know just how important that key was.
Whether those who came to this universe knew or not, that key was essentially every single one of their goals. With the information the Epistemic Tower held, there were no cultivation resources in the quadrant that could be hidden from their eyes, and that wasn't even to mention the cultivation resource the Epistemic Tower itself was! After all, the creator of the tower was a man with a will so strong that his very own techniques became new laws of the world to the point where everyone was born an with an aurora. He had even created his very own supreme level law!
'He truly didn't cheat to become number one…' King Acacia thought this for maybe the hundredth time since the appearance of the key. But, even he could still not believe it.
"Edyrm." Suddenly, King Belmont's voice snapped King Acacia out of his thoughts. "Is that what I think it is?..."
King Acacia nodded solemnly.
Silence reigned. No one knew how to proceed from here. With the natural phenomenon booming through the arena right now, shaking the very Earth itself, who would believe that this was a normal item?
King Belmont had a mind to allow those closest to Dyon the ability to head to the stage and take him away, but in the cultivation world, when it came to situations like this, no one had an inkling of respect for the dead. How many would really listen to a decree like this? It was likely they were already itching to break his moment of silence command, and barely a few minutes had passed!
It was suffice to say that the temptation for the geniuses closest to the battle were even higher. After all, they had been the top ten rankers, so they were on standby for when next their name was called. They hadn't expected for two of their own to die before their eyes, but they were still quite close to the arena… And many of them had eyes shining bright as they eyed the key.
The truth of the matter was that normal Tower keys were illusory. They would be given 'in spirit' to a clan that conquered the tower and would only appear within the gate. When the rules deemed that the tower had been sufficiently conquered by another party, then the ownership of the illusory key would shift. However, this key was tangible! It didn't take a genius to understand that there was a massive difference. For a key to manifest itself in solid form outside the gate could only mean that it was extraordinary.
Suddenly, Patriarch Ragnor's voice boomed as his laughter filled the stadium, accompanying the rolling thunder of the skies. "Let's let the younger generation fight over it, then."
The faces of Caedlum and Saru twisted in disgust. This was a person who had just died, and yet this supposed member of the older generation was trying to sow chaos.
Tau Aumen's eyes flashed with something imperceptible as wreathes of golden flames spread from his long golden hair and outwards from him. He arrogantly took a step forward, walking slowly and deliberately toward the key. He didn't seem to see a need to rush, he felt that Lionel's first place was nothing but luck considering he ran into a legacy temple. In terms of combat power, he was unmatched.
King Acacia frowned. He didn't understand why Ragnor would say such a thing. Vidar and Thor were clearly too weak to compete with Tau or even Lionel. What did he get out of this? Unless…
'Are they in an alliance?...' King Acacia's True Empathy wasn't omniscient. It wasn't possible for him to peer into someone's brain and extract whatever information he wanted. If you wanted him to tell whether or not someone was lying? It was possible. If he had to tell an enemies motives in a heated battle? It was possible. If he had to read the surface intentions of a person? It was possible. But, something as complex as understanding whether or not two clans were in an alliance was too much, there were too many nuanced threads of thoughts to sift through.
Pillars of dark flames continued to erupt around Dyon's corpse, cracking the ground beneath his feet and shattering the air itself.
Ri trembled with rage. "I'm not going to let them do whatever they want to do!" She suddenly disappeared from her mother's arms, much to Kawa's shock. Ri's figure flashed through the skies, her anger bearing down on Tau.
In an instant, Madeleine was by her side. The rage in their eyes had reached such a palpable level that Tau was forced to pause and frown.
"Move." He said plainly. "For the disrespect your deceased husband has shown my planet, taking away his things is the least of what I should do. If you don't want to follow him in death… MOVE!"
A cyclone of golden flames rose into the air, combating the eerie darkness with a blinding light. The head of a lion rose above it all, roaring into the skies with an arrogance that matched its pride.
Suddenly, the world vibrated to a resounding beat.
Baddum. Baddum. Baddum.
The sound was so fierce that it drowned out the thunder in the sky.