373 None the Wiser 5
Delia landed on the hovering array before being rejected out of the space.
Usually, in a situation like this, it was up to the clan members of the losing participant to help them off of the field. And in cases of death, which it seemed like this was going to be, it was also up to the clan members to act accordingly.
But, there was obviously no one ready for Delia. She had come alone.
Ri immediately got up to run toward Delia and help. But, she was stopped by Clarice Grimbold.
"Where the hell do you think you're going? You've embarrassed our race enough. Interaction between different clans could be seen as swapping information about numbers, I forbid you to go."
"Who the fuck are you? If you don't get out of my way right now, I promise I'll cut you down where you stand." Ri didn't have the time to deal with this nonsense.
No interaction amongst clans? That was technically true, but who cared about something like that now? Was Ri supposed to allow someone she saw as a sister, someone she knew Dyon cared about, die just for some bullshit ranking?
In the Sapientia sky box, Madeleine wanted to thrash wildly, but the lock on saint energy her master had placed on her was so domineering that she couldn't even whimper. Madeleine's eyes blazed along with purple flames, but that was when Connery Sapientia stepped in.
"You've embarrassed our clan enough. Do you think I didn't notice how purposefully confrontational you were during your battles? What happened to what I told you about the image of the Sapientia? Consider this punishment. Don't think of crossing me again."
A blanket of celestial energy completely stifled Madeleine. She couldn't even circulate her wills anymore; celestial energy was just too domineering. The rest of the Sapientia could only watch as tears fell from the eyes of their first in line genius. So, she controlled the only thing she could. She closed her eyes, unwilling to watch anymore.
However, would Patia-Neva really allow his daughter to die? She had been the first Patia-Neva in history to take the right first step. She didn't need to correct her path years down the line, or abandon her spouse or be responsible for the destruction of her clan. She had leaped over all of those hurdles and Patia-Neva was proud.
A gentle wisp of celestial energy found its way to Delia. Then, he sent the emblem of Focus Academy to Eli who was already begging to be allowed into the arena.
The energy sustained Delia's life. But, Patia-Neva had to be careful not to give her too much, or else her body wouldn't be able to handle it.
Because Patia-Neva had registered Delia under the Focus Academy name, Eli and Venus were finally allowed in. They were slow. In fact, it took them hours to reach Delia because of the sheer size of the stadium and having to go around many, many, large arenas. But, they eventually made it.
Ri had received a message from Patia-Neva long ago saying that Delia would be alright. So, she had dropped the matter with Clarice.
Clarice, however, had obviously not heard this message. To her, Ri had given up because she was too weak to face her, so this gave her back the confidence she had lost. Just before it had really seemed like Ri would have killed her… And she would have stood no chance… But, she was in the top 20! How was that possible!?
Snorting, Clarice went back to her spot, "At least you know your place."
Ri didn't respond. Not because she didn't want to, but because she knew if she did, she wouldn't be able to hold in her temper for any longer. Had Delia's father not been here, what would have happened? If she had to waste time fighting this bitch, wouldn't Delia have died before she got there? Venus' and Eli's cultivations weren't strong enough to cover such large distances – as evidenced by the fact round after round had occurred before the managed to get to Delia's body that had been set nearby other injured victims.
Lilac had wanted to help Delia, but she immediately felt the piercing gaze of her Matriarch… She had no choice but to let it go. As for Aiko and Elric? They were shaken by the experience. They felt that their lives had been on a platter, and yet someone or something had saved them.
When they returned to the Planet Naiad section, they received praise from their King as though Delia's death was now inevitable. Delia's mother had considerably paled. She knew her own death would likely come now that King Clyte had seen to it that she witnessed her daughter's, but she didn't care about that. If anything… She welcomed death now…
In the Sapientia section, Madeleine's eyes opened to find that Eli and Venus were struggling to carry Delia out of the arena. There was nothing she could do with Connery's energy locked onto her. All she could do watch Delia's seemingly lifeless body… She had lost a sister and she couldn't even do anything about it…
Madeleine didn't know what Ri knew. If Patia-Neva had sent a message to Madeleine, even though he was more powerful that Connery, with Connery's soul strength, he would have picked up on the message. Patia-Neva didn't want to cause such issues because he still had to keep himself hidden, as such, he hadn't been able to tell Madeleine that Delia would be alright.
Sending a message to Ri was still possible because Ri wasn't sitting amongst Elvin elders like Madeleine had been forced to.
Madeleine's eyes made their way down to the numbered array plate she had received. It seemed like the final round would finally be her turn. Her emotions were in chaos. If she ran from this fight, she didn't know what else Connery would do. What he hurt Dyon? What about her family?
Madeleine didn't even look at Connery as she felt the celestial energy release her. She had to supress her emotions. If she let her anger take over, she would ruin the image of the Sapientia more and only make Connery more angry. But, she was struggling.
'Delia…' Tears threatened to spill out of Madeleine's eyes as she flashed away and toward the stage.
In the Elvin section, Ri had also let her emotions stew. These rounds were taking the longest and it was already time for the final section to go before she was finally called up.
She slowly got up, too angered to bother with anything else as she flashed forward and toward the stage.
"Ladies and gentlemen! Boys and girls! This is our final round!
We've seen the best of the best duke it out. We've seen the smartest prevail. We've seen stunning upsets filled with undo shock. But now, this is the moment that concludes it all!"
Ri and Madeleine settled onto the respective stages, their eyes closed and their energies focused.
The crowd cheered at the top of their lungs as soon as they saw the final brackets. What a match up this was indeed!
Ava sat in the sky box along with the Sicarius and the Belmonts, still pissed with Tammy's cowardly actions. That said, she still focused her attention on the stages, scanning through the last 5 sets of battle royales. But… When she saw what had the crowd so excited, she froze.
Ri opened her eyes, her hair darkening and her tails manifesting from thick ethereal energy. Her pupils focused into slits and her canines lengthened. A bestial aura dripped from her, an unconcealed bloodlust permeating through the air. She had found someone she hated down to core, and she wanted nothing else but to tear this person apart.
Madeleine's eyes opened, her tight white qipao barely rustling in the wind as her purple hair became coated in a streak of dense violet flames. She wasn't holding back anymore. She had lost the battle to control her emotions and her faith seed, something she had had for less than a few months, was raging wildly.
Somewhere off in the shadows, someone smiled a toothy grin. Their plan had finally come to fruition. The ultimate pain was set in store for them.
It seemed as though this was no longer a battle royale, but a challenge between two. The twenty three other contestants watched with baited breath, content to stand on the edge of the arena while they clashed…
Ri and Madeleine weren't on separate arena floors at all… Instead, they faced each other.
One grieved the loss of a sister.
The other pissed about an attempted murder.
Both angered by the disrespect of a husband.
And none the wiser.