31 To the Hot Springs!
"I've been waiting for this!" was something Amelie would have shouted, but the tension was so high that the mage just remained quiet and said nothing. Amelie was standing three meters away from Astrid, Luna, and Lyria. She was still angry at them for expelling Christina from the guild.
They were at Mt. Alto Hot Springs. It was the vacation they earned from all the hard work they did with the first round of preliminaries and the fundraiser. In order to reach the inn, they had to warp to the small lakeside town below the mountain and take a short hike to reach the building. Instead of the usual lively chatter, a tense silence ensued during the whole hike.
"Are you girls hungry? I made cookies." Anna made an attempt to dispel the heavy atmosphere, but her effort was futile. "Come on, how long are you going to be like this? Let's have fun on this trip!"
Astrid sighed. "Let's go inside."
"Well, look who's here." Tank was the first person they saw once they entered the wooden building's lobby. He was standing beside the inn's front desk where there was an NPC giving him a room key.
"Tank!?" Luna lost her composure at the sight of him. "What are you doing here?"
"Just getting some relaxation right before the next preliminary round. Good for the body, you know?"
"So you girls are here for the same reason?"
"It's a reward for reaching our fundraising goal and making it to the next round," Astrid replied.
"Is Lyngvi here too?" Lyria blushed a little as she asked.
"Yeah. A lot of our other guild members came too. They're in the room relaxing." Tank pointed at the door at the far end of the hallway.
"Oh, you guys are here as well?" Sphinx suddenly appeared out of nowhere carrying bottles of spiced wine.
Astrid was shocked. "Black Rose is here?"
"Yeah. Well, just us core members though, except Jasmine. She said she had to go back to the real world for some family thing." When he moved his arm, a bottle of wine almost fell.
Yaya marched down the hallway. "Be careful with the wine, Sphinx!"
The male assassin frowned. "Why don't you help me carry it, Yaya?"
Anna gasped at the sight of Yaya. "Another beauty!" Through her Anna-vision, she saw sparkles and roses around Yaya, which complemented the priestess' looks.
"Oh my! I haven't seen you around before. Are you a new member?" Yaya giggled, placing a hand on her cheek. "My, my! You have such a pretty dress! Is that custom made?"
Anna blushed. "I designed it myself."
"My! How talented!"
As Yaya and Anna talked about clothing designs, a certain mage snuck up behind Lyria.
"Pumpkin girl and friends."
Lyria dreaded turning around to see the owner of the voice. When she finally did, she found Magnus standing there with Frisk right behind him. They were dressed in their usual attire: black nobleman clothes for Magnus and long blue mage robes for Frisk.
Magnus still had on his usual smirk. "I'm surprised to see you here. Actually, I'm more surprised that all the other guilds are here as well." He frowned and looked at the other people in the room. He had hoped to have a quieter vacation.
"Did your whole guild come too?" Lyria asked and checked for any signs of Jupiter mages.
"Nah. It's just Frisk and I. We needed to sneak away and take a break from running the guild, so we left our pets to do the work for us. You know, it's really useful having a robot maid as your pet."
"Aye. We were going to go look for ladies to hit on." Magnus quickly covered Frisk's mouth.
Magnus smiled awkwardly at Lyria.
"Uh-huh. Well, you guys have fun. I'm going to spend time with the girls. Goodbye!" Lyria waved and walked away.
Magnus cursed himself as the priestess left.
All the guilds decided to just get two huge rooms, one for the girls and one for the guys. They all agreed that it would be more fun that way. Plus, they'd save gold. For the Knights Alliance, this arrangement only applied to Tank and Lyngvi because their whole guild couldn't fit into the two large rooms. The girls' room was located at one end of the second floor hallway, while the guys' room was all the way at the opposite end of the hallway. Once they had their room keys, everyone went to their respective rooms to pick their beds and check out the place.
"I wonder what the guys are up to," Luna said as she relaxed on the bed. "It kinda makes you wonder what they do when we're not around."
Astrid flipped the pages of the mini guidebook the front desk gave them. She was sitting on her bed. "Maybe talk about girls?"
Yaya rolled around in bed. She liked the soft mattress very much. "Ahh. I could sure use some spiced wine right now."
"Yaya, it's still daytime," said Lyria, who was busy picking out what clothes to wear.
"Every hour is drinking time!" Yaya walked out of the room to get a bottle of spiced wine. No one bothered to stop her.
Astrid's eyes suddenly widened once she flipped the page of the guidebook. "Hey, they have a haunted mountain path where players can test their courage. Whoever brings back a token from the cave at the end of the path gets a special fortune box from the front desk." She read the list of prizes that could be included inside the box. Her eye for expensive items immediately landed on a certain pendant, which made her smile. "We could get rare accessories and hats from this! Why don't we give it a try?"
Lyria nodded. "I'm game for it! Let's tell the guys about it too."