For three days, the girls grinded in dungeons like crazy, going back to the same dungeon over and over again until they memorized the whole map and the monsters' attack patterns. They managed to gain two levels each from all the exhausting dungeon runs.
Once they went out of the dungeon for the tenth time that day, they all collapsed on the ground from exhaustion.
"Ok, maybe it's time for a break," said Astrid.
"Can we just call it a day? My awesome mage bones are aching." Amelie was lying flat on the ground.
Luna slowly stood up. "I'm really hungry, so I'm heading to the café for a snack."
"I'll just lie here on this nice soft earth for a while longer. I'll catch up."
"You can just relax at the base, you know."
Amelie pressed her cheek on the soft earth and spread her arms to hug it. "I like being one with nature."
Lyria got up from the ground. "I'm heading back to HQ for a bath. I'd rather smell like roses than minotaur."
"Yeah. Let's call it a day," Astrid said as she stood up. "I'll go sell the loot."
"Can you pick up some tea on the way, Astrid? I'll make us some nice hot tea when you get back."
Suddenly, they heard snoring. It was Amelie. She apparently fell asleep on the ground. They all found it amazing that she could sleep anywhere.
Astrid sighed. "You two go on ahead. I'll look after Amelie. She could get attacked if we leave her here."
"I can head to our base and just teleport her," Lyria suggested.
"Yes. Please do that."
"I'll bring back some cake from the café to go with our tea," Luna said while waving. "See you later!"
Luna walked through the quiet forest that was home to all sorts of strange creatures. As she walked down the path, she heard a feint sound of metal clashing. Out of curiosity, she searched for the origin of the sound and found herself right in front of a gathering of knights and crusaders. She recognized two of them.
Tank lunged forward towards his opponent, another crusader. His opponent lost his balance and fell backwards. Once the tip of Tank's blade was at his neck, he knew he was defeated.
"Your attacks were good. However, you need to be mindful of your stance. If you have a good stance, even a powerful blow can be withstood," Tank told his opponent.
"Thank you, Master Tank."
"Who's next?" As Tank looked around for another person to train, he spotted Luna and smiled. "Hey, Luna! What brings you here?"
Everyone else turned to look at her.
"Hi! I was just passing by," Luna said awkwardly.
"Come join us," Tank invited. "Do you want to spar?"
Her body was tired from the dungeon runs, but she still had energy left for a spar. "Sure. I'm game."
Tank laughed. "That's the spirit. Everyone, this is Luna. She would've been your fellow member, but another guild got to her first."
Luna drew her sword. Her heart was beating fast. She never imagined getting a chance to spar with the Knights Alliance guildmaster Tank! She embraced the excitement of battle and friendly matches.
"Ready, Luna?" he asked.
Luna smirked. "Ready when you are."
Tank launched an attack first, which she countered right away using her reflexes. He was quick to follow it up with a series of attacks, all of which Luna managed to counter. She realized Astrid's crazy training regimen greatly sharpened her reflexes.
He was impressed by her skill. "Not bad, Luna."
Tank's attacks were slower compared to most swordsmen, but were powerful. Next was to test how she fared against his hardest hits. Luna blocked his next attack with her sword, doing her best to counter the downward force that was pushing against her. With all her strength, she prevented the sword from pushing down any further.
Suddenly, she heard a familiar voice. "Hi Luna!"
Luna's concentration immediately disappeared in a flash. The sword came down at her, but she parried it to the left to keep it from landing a hit on her. By luck, she managed to dodge Tank's follow-up blow.
"What are you doing, Luna?" Amelie asked.
"Amelie! I'm in the middle of sparring!" Luna shouted back.
Amelie placed her hands on her hips. "It's Chris! Why won't you call me Chris?"
"I thought you were asleep at the base!"
"Oh it's Tank. Hi Tank! Why are you fighting?"
"Hi Amelie. It's a friendly match," Tank replied.
Astrid showed up behind Amelie. "I apologize for the disturbance my guild manager has caused. Please excuse us." She used her stun skill to immobilize Amelie and drag her away.
"Wait. I still want to talk some more!" Amelie said as she was being dragged away.
Tank stopped attacking and just laughed. "Your friends are funny."
"Yeah..." Luna laughed nervously.
"Your technique is good, Luna. You just need to work on keeping your concentration. In battle, getting distracted could cost you your life. Never keep your eyes off your opponent."
"Got it. Thanks for the advice. Your blows were really strong, you know?"
He grinned. "Thanks. Even if you're set on a tank build, you can use equipment to compensate for your low attack." He opened his inventory and pulled out a card. "Here. Equip this on your sword. It adds an extra 5% to your critical hit rate."
Luna took the card. "Are you sure I can have it? This card looks expensive!"
"Yeah. Keep it and use it."
She grinned happily. "Thank you so much!"
"Hey Tank, you're being awfully nice to that girl," his fellow guildmember teased him.
Suddenly, the atmosphere became awkward. Luna quickly thought of something to say, "I have to go meet up with my guild members now. Thank you for the spar and the card!" She waved and ran.
Later that night, the girls gathered at the living room for some tea and cake. Luna was smiling to herself as Lyria served her some tea. She was too deep in la la land to pay attention to anything around her.
"Someone looks awfully happy." Astrid had a mischievous smile on. She liked teasing people.
"He complemented my fighting skills," Luna said while being deep in euphoria. "He said my technique is good."
Astrid sipped her cup of tea. "That was a surprise though. You were suddenly sparring with Tank."
"He gave me a card too!" Luna held it up.
Astrid's quick eye for expensive items honed in on the card. She quickly snatched it to appraise its value. "This card! It's worth 25 million gold in the market! You're one luckly girl, Luna." She gave the card back. "You should quickly equip that on your weapon. It will be very useful in battle."
"I will do that first thing in the morning!"
Amelie yawned. "I'm going to bed first. Goodnight, everyone."
Lyria refilled her cup. "I'm heading to bed after I finish this cup."
Luna was still smiling. "I will dream happy dreams tonight! My mouth seriously aches from all the smiling though. Ouch."
"I'll stay awake for a bit longer to sort out my inventory," said Astrid.
"Don't push yourself too hard, Astrid."
Once the rest were asleep, Astrid stood up from the dining room chair and prepared to head outside. Her training for that day still wasn't over.
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