13 A Friendly Match
In the square of Lamont, members of the Black Rose guild relaxed on the benches and talked like usual. It was their favorite place to hang out when they had nothing better to do. As Amelie drew nearer to the group, the smell of meat buns became more and more apparent.
"Oh boy! Meat buns!" Sed was in heaven. "That smells delicious."
"Please help yourselves!" Amelie offered and held up the box of meat buns.
"You're the best, Chris!" Jasmine said before taking one. "We should cook you something too one of these days!"
Upon hearing Jasmine's remark, Sed felt a pang of jealousy. He did his best to distract himself by eating the delicious meat bun.
"Where is Pio?" Amelie asked when she noticed the missing member.
"Pio is out farming for cards."
"Oh, will you give this to Pio then?" Amelie handed over Pio's share to the female assassin.
"Leave it to me," Jasmine said with a thumbs-up. "So, Chris, are you participating in the single battle?"
"My level is too low."
Sed had an idea. He smirked. "Even if your level is that low, you still have a chance of winning, you know? It's all about strategy. Think about it. If you enter and score a win for your guild even with that level, people are going to know that you have good technique and skills as a player."
Jasmine stared at Sed suspiciously, wondering if he was up to something. "Well, I wouldn't say winning is impossible..."
"So it's ok for me to enter?" Amelie tilted her head.
"It's also a good experience, right? You'll become a better fighter too."
Amelie nodded. "I see."
"You don't have to take Sed seriously, Chris," said Yaya, who was halfway though her meat bun.
"Yeah, what Yaya said." Jasmine glared at Sed.
"What? It's my opinion!" Sed was surprised to see Jasmine's glare.
Amelie was still deep in thought. After a minute passed, she stood up from her seat. "Sorry, I can't stay long. I remembered I had to prepare a snack for Astrid for her training with Garth today. I was going to make a sandwich, but I ran out of cheese. I'll have to go get some."
Jasmine was sad. "Alright, take care! You'll be back again tomorrow, right?"
"Of course! I'll cook you something too."
That brought a smile to Jasmine's face. "I can't wait!"
The rest waved and said goodbye to Amelie as she was on her way to leave.
That night, Astrid arrived early at her usual meeting place with Garth. She wanted to spend an hour training before she met up with Garth. As she was killing monsters, she had a strange feeling that someone was there watching her from the shadows. Since morning when she was helping Luna level up, she had this strange feeling. She brushed it off and continued training. Once it was time for her to meet Garth, she stopped and walked to the rendezvous spot.
Astrid turned around. She wasn't happy to see Sphinx leaning against a tree. She still wanted to punch him in the face for what he did last time.
"Are you on your way to meet Garth?" He got off the tree and approached her. His Cheshire cat smile told her that he was definitely up to something.
"Yeah," she replied. "What do you want?"
"Oh, nothing. I'm just here to ask about how your guild is doing with preparations for the event. I assume you're one of the representatives for the single battles."
Astrid smirked. He was most likely trying to gather information to put their guild at an advantage. "And what if I am?"
"Are you fighting all five battles by any chance?"
"Perhaps I am."
He smiled and nodded. "I see, I see."
"You were the one who's been following me all day, huh?" She folded her arms.
"Ah, so you noticed. I'm just doing my job, Miss Guildmaster."
"You can gather as much information on my fighting style as you wish, but I'm not answering any of your questions directly."
"Woah. Seriously? That's some confidence you have there."
She laughed. "You're just wasting your time anyway."
Suddenly, Garth appeared before them. He used teleport to get to the area. Once he noticed Sphinx, he frowned. "Sphinx, are you bothering Astrid again?"
Sphinx smiled. "Of course not. I was just greeting her. Right?" He looked at her.
Astrid decided to let it slide this time. "Yeah. He was just asking how my guild was doing."
Garth didn't buy it. "If he bothers you, please tell me." He gave her an exp apple. "Let's go."
"Have fun!" Sphinx waved and disappeared into the shadows.
Garth led her to the Abandoned Dark Lord Castle filled with level 110 monsters. Astrid noticed that the monsters here did more damage to him than the ones he previously fought. As he was casting Blizzard, he got knocked down.
"Garth!" Astrid immediately stood up.
"Don't move, Astrid! Don't worry about me. I stocked up on potions." He stood back up and drank a super health potion. He defeated the monster that knocked him down earlier.
He continued fighting for around an hour. The moment Astrid's level hit 90, Garth stopped. "I guess we're done. From here on out, you'll have to level up on your own. This is as far as I can get you."
Astrid stood up. "Thanks, Garth."
"But before we part..."
Garth would like to have a friendly match with you.
She received a duel request from him.
Garth smiled. "I want to see how much you've grown. Hit me with everything you have."
She nodded and hit the accept button.
Without wasting a second, Garth fired bolts of fire at her. He really wasn't going easy on her. Thanks to the assassin's dodge ability, she evaded most of the bolts. The ones that did hit, however, did a number on her health. It also inflicted a burn status effect, which decreased a percentage of her health every six seconds. It was like a ticking time bomb. She had to finish him quickly before the burn killed her.
Astrid decided to go for a close up stun to give her a few seconds to launch a series of her strongest attacks. Garth wasn't about to let that happen. He quickly summoned a wall of fire to keep her away from him. She managed to avoid contact with the wall of fire just in time.
"If you can land a single hit on me, I'll give you a reward," he said to her as they were separated by the flames. "So, do your best, Astrid."
"If it's a single hit, I think I can manage that." She smiled with confidence and vanished using her Invisibility skill.
"Invisibility, huh? It looks like I'll just have to find you." He raised his staff, casting Blizzard. Hail descended from the sky, landing on the areas surrounding him.
As Astrid evaded the hail coming down from the sky, one landed on her leg and froze it to the ground. She had no choice but to use her Moon Slash attack to quickly free herself. This cancelled out the Invisibility skill.
"Found you." Garth pointed his staff at her and prepared to launch a fireball.
Astrid ran towards him to get him into the range of her area of effect attack. Before he managed to hurl it at her, she activated her Earth Strike skill. When her fist met the ground, Garth's spell was cancelled. His health dropped by 10% and for a brief moment, his defense was decreased by 20%. By luck, he was also stunned for a few seconds. Astrid took this chance and followed it up with Moon Slash and the close up stun skill Electrify. She managed to get his health down to 70%, but it wasn't enough. After all the damage she received, her health was down to just 15%.
Immediately after Garth could move again, he cast an instant ice spell, Frozen Touch. This made her health drop to 5%. Once the Burn status effect did its damage one more, it was over.
Garth threw her a super health potion and helped her up. "Good job."
"Thanks, Garth. I can't thank you enough."
He pulled out a silver ring. "Here's your reward. Wear this level 90 ring. You'll become even faster and land more critical damage."
Astrid received it. She noticed that it was already enhanced with cards. "Thank you." She wore it on her finger.
He smiled. "I'll see you at the guild war." Suddenly, he disappeared before she could say anything else.
Astrid was thankful that she finally reached level 90, but a part of her felt lonely now that her training with Garth was over. She decided it was time to focus on equipment for both herself and Luna. They only had a few days left before the event.