Dyon raised an eyebrow, releasing his grip on Ri and Madeleine so they could stand to his sides.
Seeing Dyon's apprehension, Patriarch Ragnor lightly smiled. "Tammy, come here."
Thor's face twitched, but other than that, he remained unmoved. However, Dyon's frown only deepened at those words.
As quickly as her cultivation would allow, without daring to delay, a petite girl with blond bob-cut hair and light blue eyes shuffled her way onto the stage below Patriarch Ragnor as he touched down. Her usual bubbly personality had completely disappeared, and although she was clearly trembling, she didn't dare to disobey orders.
"Unfortunately, I have no daughters of my own, so it's difficult for me to show my sincerity to you…"
Thor's grip on his spear tightened.
"However, Tammy can be considered a close relative of mine. In fact, she's the daughter of my late brother, so she can be considered as my niece.
I cannot say that she is as beautiful as your wives, nor is she as talented, but she is quite unique in her own right. She's a survivor of a meridian transplant technique my family stumbled upon, so her affinity for lightning is even higher than most of us – I dare say that the only one who beats her in this aspect would be my nephew, Thor."
'Meridian transplant?...' Dyon's mind flashed back to his own dealings with such a technique. But, the difference between him and Tammy was that he was crippled – it made sense for him to undergo such pain. But, her? Was it even her own wish?
Everything about the Ragnor's disgusted Dyon. They treated people like tools, and raised their next generations to be just as depraved as the former.
Their auxiliary clans were nothing but human puppets. The Saeclum clan was practically bred purely to be used as sacrificial pawns to see the future. The Ipsum practiced an artificial will that required bloody sacrifices on their own part. The Ragnor were willing to use the lives of innocents to further their own power with the blood sacrifice technique. And now they were experimenting on their own people too?...
Dyon's eyes flashed and he suddenly realized that when he thought Tammy was moving particularly slow, it was because that was all she could muster… Her cultivation had fallen to the peak of the foundation stage. All of the work she had done on her meridians were gone! Replaced by a completely new set. Except unlike Dyon's, they weren't already tempered.
Tammy's energy seemed unstable and imbalanced. But, she did her best to shyly smile, staring at the ground as though Patriarch Ragnor's wish to give her to Dyon was her own wish as well.
Ava, who was in the Belmont skybox, suddenly felt something inexplicable well up inside of her. This was a girl that she had once seen as her best friend, someone she shared everything with. This was a girl that she had thought might one day be her sister in law because of how much she loved Arios. But, this was also the girl that had betrayed her that day in the forest. This was a girl that put her own survival ahead of the dignity and life of her friend…
There was no easy way in deciding how to feel… There was no clear-cut white and black, right and wrong, here…
In the end, Ava realized that the feeling in her chest was pain… Pain she couldn't tell if it was out of pity while looking on to the plight of a stranger, or heartfelt agony at watching someone you love be treated like a toy.
It was only now that Ava realized that Tammy didn't participate in the tournament not because she was running… But because she no longer had any free will of her own…
"I won't bore you with the details," Patriarch Ragnor continued, completely unperturbed by the odd silence in the arena, "But, essentially, her ability as a dual cultivation partner for those who are interested in the lightning arts can't even be matched by transcendent level lightning beasts!"
Although Patriarch Ragnor was being nothing less than a disgusting human being, he had not told a single lie.
The idea of a lightning type constitution was simply unheard of – it didn't exist. The model of trial that the heavens used to test cultivators was lightning, so it made sense that they would never choose to bestow upon said cultivators the ability to circumvent said trials. That said, much like how every important law had its own beast representation, lightning was no different.
That said, these lightning beasts were a joke. The lightning that Thor wielded, or any other lightning wielder might, was of a far inferior grade to tribulation lightning. As a result, these 'lightning beasts' had no supreme beasts among their kin. In fact, they could barely count as transcendent beasts at all.
This was why lightning was seen as a mere elemental will. It still had frightening destructive power, even in its severely weakened state… But, they'd never match tribulation lightning.
However… Wasn't cultivating about defying the heavens? From the very first observation of this truth, martial warriors have been trying to find their own way to leap through the hurdle. They wanted to form their own lightning techniques and their own lightning affinities and constitutions, and none were more adamant about this than the ancestors of the Ragnors.
They threw everything away in pursuit of their own with true lightning state, experimenting with wills and their own people in hopes of one day evolving elemental lightning will into the supreme law it was meant to be. But… Defying the heavens came with a price…
The Ragnors became cursed with their lightning affinity bodies, being destined to pass on those same genes from generation to generation. Instead of giving them the power and immunity they wanted, it ended up increasing their trials hundreds of times over, to the point where the mortality rate of the Ragnors reached unprecedented scales…
And now, because they had experimented on Tammy even more, there was no doubt in anyone's mind that it would be impossible for this fragile girl to survive her saint hood tribulation.