10 A Hacker in the Fores
The World Guild War was a completely new event planned out by the current set of world moderators. They decided it was time for something big to excite the players of Aries. This was their answer.
It was the first time a large scale event such as that was being held, so many players were looking forward to it. The moderators promised bazaars located in different towns selling limited edition items and some rare equipment, especially hats. They also planned large parties to be held after every preliminary round. All players were invited to join in the bazaar and parties.
"Check this out, guys! There's going to be a fancy ball too for VIP," Jasmine said as she relaxed on the large sofa at the Black Rose Headquarters. She flipped through the issue of Aries Unlimited. "We have to work hard and earn those ball tickets! Only the guilds who pass the team battles get to go."
"I ain't going to no ball," Sphinx folded his arms. "Especially if we have to wear a tuxedo."
Jasmine rolled her eyes. "Come on, Sphinx. Everyone wants to see you in a tuxedo at least once."
"My, my!" Yaya peered over Jasmine's shoulder. "The event area looks absolutely amazing too! It's like you're in a fairy tale. Look at that beautiful garden!"
Sed spoke, "Let's not get carried away with the parties. We're joining this event and winning it so we can show to the world how strong Black Rose is!" He clenched his fist.
Jasmine pouted. "It's nice to have something to look forward to once in a while."
He nodded. "True, but we have to keep our focus. Right, Garth?"
Garth, who was sitting nearby quietly reading, looked up from his book. "Is there cake at the ball?"
"There seems to be many different types of cake according to the article," Yaya replied.
Sed was in disbelief. "Garth! I thought you were on my side!"
"It's good motivation, right?" Garth went back to reading.
"You heard the guildmaster, Sed!" Jasmine stuck her tongue out playfully.
Sed placed his hands on his head in despair. "Why do I feel like everyone is against me?"
"What's all the commotion about?" Pio entered the room with a tray of sweet potatoes. The moment Sed smelled food, his sadness immediately vanished and his eyes locked on the freshly cooked potatoes. He couldn't resist the delicious smell filling the room.
"Hey! Leave some for us, Sed!" Jasmine got off the couch. She had to stop Sed. "Don't you dare eat all the potatoes!"
As the two fought over the sweet potatoes, Pio the pacifist stepped in to intervene. Yaya just stood at the side with the magazine commenting on how lively they were. Garth paid them no mind and continued reading. He knew they could handle the problem themselves.
That was how a normal day at the Black Rose guild usually went during Garth's term as guildmaster. Although the atmosphere wasn't so much different back when Wen was guildmaster, the most notable change was the current set of members. Before Wen mysteriously vanished, they had three times more members. The disappearance of Wen triggered a large exodus, leaving only one fourth of the total population. The guild managed to get many new recruits, but they were never able to bring it back to its former glory.
To the Black Rose guild, the World Guild War event was their chance to attract strong players and have them join their guild.
Luna yawned as she walked through the forest path early that morning. She pulled an all-nighter killing monsters with Astrid to raise her level. So far, they managed to get her to level 48, but it still wasn't enough. She had to be at least level 60 to stand a chance against any of the representatives. They were making some progress, but it was too slow.
As her legs wobbled while walking, she thought she saw the figure of Tank approaching her.
Ah, I must be hallucinating, Luna thought. I'm really liking this hallucination though. She grinned like an idiot.
"Luna!" Tank ran to her. He looked desperate. "Did you see any player running to this area?"
She realized it wasn't a hallucination. It was the real Tank. At that moment, all her fatigue disappeared.
She shook her head. "No, I didn't see anybody."
"I need to ask you a favor. Help me look for a player dressed in a black cloak. He's a mage. I caught him hacking."
"I'm on it!" She gave a thumbs-up.
Tank smiled. "Thanks. Call me if you catch him."
He ran off to a certain direction. Luna hurried to the opposite direction where she immediately caught sight of the person Tank was looking for.
"Tank! He's over here!" Luna shouted.
The cloaked mage wasted no time and did not even stop to look back. At that moment, Luna wished she had the speed of assassins to catch up to the mage. She had to think of a way to close in the distance. Then, she remember her Ground Break skill, which was similar to the assassin's Earth Strike except it has bigger damage and gave no status effects. She jumped forward and thrust her sword into the ground, activating the skill.
The mage lost his balance from the earth's sudden trembling and fell to the ground. Luna caught up to him and was about to remove his cloak when she heard Tank's voice.
"Luna! Don't go near him!" Tank shouted. "You're near the border of the PvP area!"
In a split second, a series of strong blows came out of nowhere and Luna's health dropped to one. The mage teleported and got away.
"Are you alright?" Tank ran to her side and gave her a super health potion.
"Thank goodness I activated Endurance beforehand. I would have died!"
"Good thinking." He sighed in relief. "I'm glad you survived. Sorry for putting you in danger."
Luna grinned. "It's fine. We have to catch cheaters, right?"
Tank punched a nearby tree. "Yeah. We were so close."
"Did you get his name?"
"He had it hidden. Probably did it by hacking too."
Something on the ground caught Luna's eye. "It looks like he dropped something." She held up the pink handkerchief.
Tank examined the item. "At least we have a lead."
"I'll help gather information about this handkerchief."
"Thanks, Luna. That would help me a lot. It's hard for me to move around and investigate while being a guildmaster at the same time. If you find something, let's meet up. It's risky to communicate through mail."
Luna was elated. She was going to see Tank again!
"See you around!" Tank waved before leaving.
She waved back and hurried to the guild headquarters with a huge grin on her face. Once she was sure Tank was far away from her, she squealed.
"Guys! You won't believe this!" The moment Luna entered the house, four wolf cubs and a mini wyvern ran to greet her. "Woah! Who let the wolf cubs out?"
"I didn't want to keep them inside the cage," Amelie replied from the kitchen. She was making meat buns for her guildmates and for her friends from Black Rose.
"Astrid's going to kill you once she finds out you let them loose."
"Don't worry. I'll put them back in before Astrid comes back."
Luna picked up the wyvern. "Hey, doesn't Rune look a little bigger to you? It's like he suddenly grew. He was still tiny yesterday."
Amelie tilted her head innocently. "Really? I just kept feeding him pizza."
Luna stared at her in disbelief. "Why would you feed a wyvern pizza?"
"Pizza has a magic attack boost, so I figured it'd be suitable. I also fed the wolf cubs steak so they'd get more attack."
Luna sat on the couch. "I guess that makes sense."
"Want some meat buns?" Amelie carried a plate of meat buns into the living room.
"Thank you! I'm starving." Luna picked up a meat bun from the pile and began eating. "Oh yeah, I need to tell you something."
"Whatever it is, I didn't do it! I swear!" Amelie crossed her arms in defense.
"No, no. I'm not accusing you of anything." Luna pulled out the handkerchief the hacker dropped. "I need your help in finding out the owner of this pink handkerchief. A hacker dropped it. I was on my way back from the forest when I bumped into Tank who was chasing a cloaked mage he caught hacking. Now, I'm helping Tank catch that guy."
"Gotcha! I'll ask around."
Amelie placed her hands on her hips. "It's Chris! We've been friends for ten years and you still haven't called me that even once!"
"Where's Lyria and Astrid?"
"Don't ignore me! Lyria went out to collect more herbs for potions! Astrid went to farm so we can have gold for equipment."
"Oh, I see." Luna yawned. "Well, I'm going to bed. Thanks for the meat bun." She went inside the bedroom and plopped on the soft mattress, leaving Amelie alone in the living room.
Amelie packed the meat buns and prepared to teleport to town.