"Luna!" Lyria and Anna were relieved to see the lady knight when she arrived at the top of their small castle.
Anna hugged Luna's legs out of happiness. "Save us, o goddess of war!"
"Hey." Luna waved casually. When she turned her head and saw just two towers left standing, a feeling of dread came. "Oh no."
"We were attacked by five players, but we managed to take down two. There's an archer, a crusader, and an assassin left," Lyria filled Luna in. "We haven't found the archer's location yet, but he should be somewhere north where the arrows appear to originate from.
Luna nodded. "Amelie can take care of the archer. I don't have long range attacks."
Amelie was sitting on the ground with her head against the mound where the statue stood. "I'm out of mana."
"She used it up to cast her ultimate spell," said Lyria with a sigh.
"What?! Amelie!" Luna moved in front of the mage. "How could you waste all your mana in one go?"
Amelie was irritated. "Hey, I took down two people! You can at least thank me for that!"
Lyria stood in between them. "Ok, let's save the argument for later. We need to save our last two towers before it's too late."
Suddenly, the sound of something crumbling echoed through the patch of land where their castle stood. Lyria didn't have to turn around and look to know what it was.
Lyria sighed. "Make that one last tower."
"I'm going down to fight the assassin and crusader. We can worry about the archer after Amelie recovers her mana." Luna hurried down the stairs.
"I'll support you." Lyria turned to the bard. "Anna, protect Amelie and the statue using your force field. Don't use any other skill except the shield and heal. We need to save as much mana."
Anna did a salute. "Understood!"
Lyria followed Luna, who pushed the two attackers away from their final tower. The lady knight managed to create distance between the tower and their opponents.
"Get the healer," the crusader whispered to his companion.
The assassin went straight for Lyria. Luna stood in between them to block the strike. "You'll have to get through me to land a hit on her!" She managed to push the assassin back using a strong swing. "Hey Lyria, maybe we should bring in Astrid too."
"Teleport is still on cooldown," Lyria replied. "In the meantime, let's focus on the crusader because he has heal."
The crusader wasted no time in striking Luna while she was distracted. Lyria quickly healed her friend. The lady knight and the crusader fell into a heated battle as they placed all their strength into every swing of the sword. Lyria performed a timed Heaven's Light on their opponent's leg, disrupting his balance and sending him sprawling on the ground. Luna smiled after she delivered a fatal blow on her opponent. However, she was unaware of the assassin that was waiting for the right moment to rob her of her last health points.
"Luna!" Lyria moved in to heal her, but she couldn't beat the assassin's speed. With a quick strike on the leg, Luna's health was brought down to zero.
Knowing that facing the assassin was too risky, she retreated to the guild castle to join Amelie and Anna who were defending themselves from arrows.
Anna's shield disappeared for a moment. "This is bad. My shield can't hold up if my mana is below thirty percent. I have to recover mana."
Anna failed to notice the stray arrow going towards Amelie. By the time she noticed, the arrow already struck the mage and drained her health, immediately teleporting her to the cooldown area. After the shock of losing her guildmate, Anna became even more vigilant as she guarded the statue with her life.
The first person Amelie saw at the cooldown area was Luna, who was sitting down on the pure white floor like everyone else. She also spotted the players they just defeated, who merely avoided their gaze.
The cooldown area was an isolated area with no walls. The floor was white, the sky was white, and everything else far away from them just appeared to be white. There were neither doors nor any teleportation devices. The place was like some form of limbo.
"All our towers are destroyed. We're going to lose at this rate." Luna sighed dejectedly. "Our group coordination is terrible."
Amelie swiftly turned her head. "Are you saying it's my fault?"
"I never said that! What's wrong with you?" Luna raised her voice. "Although you are one of the reasons..."
All the players inside the cooldown area turned their heads to see the commotion. Amelie remained silent.
Luna stood up and folded her arms. She couldn't take her friend's attitude any longer. "Look Amelie, in all our years of friendship, you've never been this annoying!"
"I'm annoying? Well, you're annoying me too! Why didn't you consult me before hitting that expel button? I told Astrid I'd talk to her!"
"Because we know that you'd probably side with Christina and disregard whatever proof of her scamming that we bring to you."
"Proof? I haven't seen any of this proof you speak of! I've only heard testimonies!"
"Your golden turtle hat could have counted as proof, but nope! You refuse to believe that you got scammed by your twinnie! Wake up, Amelie!"
"Ladies, is this really the right time to fight?" Frisk stepped in between them before the fight became violent.
"Frisk! You died too?" Luna was surprised by his sudden appearance.
"Please don't change the topic." Frisk sighed. "Listen, this isn't any of my business, but I'd hate to see your guild fall out of the competition because of some petty fight. Is this seriously worth destroying the friendship you've built for years?"
Luna and Amelie looked at each other in silence. They both folded their arms and sat back down. Seeing that there was nothing else he could do, Frisk walked away and left them alone.
"Hey Amelie," Luna spoke.
Amelie took a few seconds before responding. "What?"
"Remember the last time we fought like this?"
"You mean that time you got mad at me for hanging out with the popular girls who made fun of you?"
"Yeah. That time. We had a pretty crazy fistfight didn't we?"
"Yeah. We sure did. I just went up to you and asked why you were avoiding me. Then, you began accusing me of betraying you. The next thing I knew, we were fighting in the school gym."
"How did we make up that time?"
"I don't remember. That was a long time ago in middle school. I only remember going out for ice cream right after we got a lecture from the principal."
"Me too. It was good ice cream."
Amelie actually managed a smile. "Yeah. It was."
Luna struggled to get the words out, but she knew she had to if she wanted to salvage what was left of their friendship. "Look, I'm sorry we kicked your friend out and didn't consult you. I wish you'd at least believe us."
"Sorry. It felt like you girls were ganging up on her. I just felt the need to defend her."
"When we get back to the field, can we leave this behind us and give it our all?"