Clara lost track of how long she spent crying. In the past twelve years, not once had she cried. The last time her had was when her mother died, but afterwards, it was almost like a silent vow she made to herself.
But, when she saw Dyon 'die' right before her eyes, she had finally broken down, unable to contain it any further. And then her entire world was destroyed. Never again would she be able to see her friends… Never again would she see her father…
She tried to hold it all in again. In fact, she had succeeded… Even when she saw Dyon being taken away, her eyes only continued to become colder and colder… But then, for some reason, when she felt Dyon's presence just then, she completely melted again, unable to control the flow of tears from her grey eyes.
Clara kneeled on the bed, wrapping her arms around Dyon tightly, unwilling to let go. Dyon had no intention of pushing her away. He only continued to hold her, waiting silently as her trembling shoulders began to calm.
Dyon pulled back, cupping Clara's cheeks before lightly pressing in, causing her lips to make an 8 shape. She looked so adorable with her red and puffy eyes that Dyon couldn't help but tease her, "Since when did my Clara turn out to be such a crybaby?"
A spurt of laughter came from Clara's lips as she slapped Dyon's hands away, trying to stop them from squishing her cheeks.
She sat back on her knees, wiping her eyes as Dyon plopped down next to her on the soft bed. Clara couldn't help but inadvertently lean her head to rest on his shoulder, still trying to calm her emotions.
"He's gone?" Clara couldn't help but ask one final time, knowing what the answer would be even though the light inflection in her voice carried the faintest of hopes.
"He's gone." Dyon didn't sugar coat it. He knew Clara wouldn't go for that approach anyway.
A light sigh escaped Clara's lips before she closed her eyes. A part of her couldn't help but wonder if she would have been satisfied just dying with the rest of them. It likely would have been too quick for her to feel much pain, and she wouldn't have to deal with the garbage that was the martial world. But then she thought about how that would mean leaving Dyon alone.
She shook her head furiously. How selfish would that be?
"You sure learned array alchemy pretty fast." Dyon chuckled.
"Faster than you?" Clara jeered.
"Absolutely not. Your concealment array was so weak that it only took me a single finger to poke through. Pathetic."
"Yea right. You wouldn't tell me even if I was, you egomaniac."
It had only been two days since Clara received the books on array alchemy from Dyon, and good portion of that time was spent dealing with the nonsense brought down by the Ragnors. When Clara found time to learn, Dyon had no idea. But, it seems that he was right in his assessment. Array alchemy really did suit her.
"Well, regardless, you'll have quite a few years to catch up to me." Dyon sighed.
"What do you mean?" Clara asked, clear worry in her voice. By now, she understood much about the soul and how it related to array alchemy. If Dyon couldn't practice for years, did he injure himself too badly to do so?
After Dyon's explanation, Clara was still worried, but still let out a small sigh of relief.
"So, what you mean is that I'll have almost 20 years to surpass something you reached in less than 3? Pft, how easy."
A mysterious grin appeared on Dyon's lips. "Let's make a bet then. If you can draw a peak grandmaster array in 20 years, you win."
Clara was off-put by Dyon's confidence. Was he really looking down on her so much? So, she decided to test him.
"If I win, I'll castrate you. How about it?"
"Sure, as long as you let me try anal for the first time. I read in a magazine somewhere that cold and domineering girls like you always have that single weakness. Deal?"
"Ah…" Clara's brows furrowed, pouting and looking particularly aggrieved. However, she felt a small bit of gratification in her heart.
It may sound odd, but a large part of her and Dyon's relationship had always been his sexual harassment. Although he never took it too far, he would bully her with his words all of the time in the past. But, when he came back to see her for the first time in what seemed like forever, he stopped all of that. To the point where he didn't even call her beautiful anymore. It was like he put up a wall to that sort of relationship between them, unwilling to allow her closer.
Then, when Clara had her talk with Ri on the matter, Ri had helped her understand why. Clara knew more than anyone how stubborn Dyon could be. If he didn't change his mind on his own, it was likely no one person could change it for him. It was just unfortunate that it took something so horrible for him to let her back into his heart.
Dyon laughed with a hint of mockery in his voice, "Scared?" He teasingly leaned back, glancing at Clara's round and plump ass, almost imagining his victory already.
"Not on your life." Clara harrumphed. "I'm changing my side of the bet. You'll be my slave for 5 years when you lose."
Dyon grinned. What Clara didn't know, just yet, was that Dyon would never underestimate her intelligence. There was no doubt in his mind that within three years, Clara would understand just as much array alchemy theory as him, and he was planning to give her all the same resources.
The reason she would never be able to draw a grandmaster array in 20 years is because no one could soul cultivate that fast. Only Dyon could, and that was because he had the accumulated talent of billions. And it still took him 3 years to reach the 8th soul stage. That's how difficult soul cultivation was.