40 I Guess We“re Friends Again
Back at the field, Lyria's health was down to 10 points. She managed to take down the archer using Heaven's Light, but the assassin was still at full health. With her mana bank all drained, she had no way of healing herself. She braced herself for death.
"Milady!" She heard a familiar voice that lifted her spirits.
She turned her head and saw a certain crusader running towards her. "Lyngvi!"
"I'm glad I made it in time." He sounded relieved, but frowned when he saw the state of their base. He cast heal twice to bring her back at full health. "Let's kill this guy."
Lyria looked down dejectedly. "Sorry. I don't have any mana left. I might not be able to support you well."
He threw her a mace, which she caught. "Use that and hit me."
"W-What?! I can't just hit you!" Lyria was appalled at his suggestion.
"It has mana absorb. I can give you some of my mana for emergencies. Hurry up and do it."
She nodded and hit him twice before giving the mace back. "Thanks. I can recover the rest on my own."
"Let's go eliminate the threat. Your base is in bad shape right now."
"Lyria!" Astrid shouted as soon as she and the Black Rose assassins arrived at the Noctis Noir base. She stopped and stared in horror at all their destroyed towers.
"It must have been a tough battle, huh?" Sphinx commented when he saw the scene. From the corner of his eye, he spotted a familiar face. "Hey, is that Vi?"
"Astrid!" Lyria ran to her guildmate. "We only have this assassin left. Luna and Amelie got killed. Anna is currently defending the statue."
"How long has it been?" Astrid asked.
"A while. They should respawn soon."
The assassin, seeing that he was outnumbered, decided to flee. Astrid, Sphinx, and Jasmine chased him down. It didn't take long for them to defeat him.
Astrid hurried back to the priestess. "Lyria, there's an hour left before the end of this round. If we don't destroy a statue within this period, we're out of the competition. Once Amelie and Luna respawn here, I'll go with Jasmine and Sphinx to attack other guilds. Teleport me here if things are looking bad."
Lyria nodded. "Will do."
Lyngvi stepped forward. "Not to worry. I'll help defend your base. My guild already fulfilled the requirements for today's round."
"Thanks, Lyngvi. We owe you one."
He smiled gently. "It's my pleasure. We are allies, after all."
A sudden flash of light came from within the small castle. It was Luna. "I'm back!" Luna stepped out of the castle and looked around. "Did I miss all the action?"
Anna was relieved to see the both of them. "Pretty much. I hope that was the last bit of action here for the day though."
Lyngvi spoke to the girls, "With all your towers destroyed, players will assume that you are a weak target, so you'd better prepare yourselves for more attacks."
Lyria sighed. "So it's not the end, huh?"
"Be careful and stay alive!" Astrid waved before leaving with the Black Rose assassins.
As Jasmine, Astrid, and Sphinx traveled through the sea of trees, Sphinx spotted a guild with two towers left standing. He signaled his companions, who followed his lead. All three of them used Invisibility to sneak up behind the players defending the castle. Simultaneously, they used Electrify to stun the players and do a stun-lock combo. Their opponents didn't stand a chance.
"That was easy," Sphinx said with a snicker.
"Don't get too cocky now, Sphinx." Jasmine jumped down from the top of the mini castle and started attacking a tower. "We have two minutes to do this before they respawn."
Sphinx and Astrid worked on destroying the other tower. Once all towers were destroyed, they rushed for the statue.
"You can take this one, Astrid. Our guild already destroyed a statue earlier," said Jasmine.
"Thanks, Jas." Astrid took the statue and smashed it using her katar.
"In return, help us destroy maybe three more statues. It's good to eliminate competition, right?"
"It'd be better if we run into our allies."
"Allies, you say?" Magnus suddenly appeared leaning against a tree. He yawned. "I'm starting to get bored singlehandedly taking down castles while waiting for Frisk to respawn."
Jasmine wasn't amused by his arrogant words. "Well, you can come with us if you're that bored."
He smirked. "I thought you'd never ask."
While Astrid was out destroying bases with their allies, more attackers appeared to try their luck at destroying Noctis Noir's statue. Anna protected the statue with her force field. Amelie stood beside her throwing bolts at enemies while Luna, Lyngvi, and Lyria fought below.
After defeating the last wave of enemies, Lyria checked her mana bank. It was near zero again. Just as she scanned the area for any more opponents, she saw a figure making its way up the guild castle.
"There's a knight climbing up the castle!" Lyria shouted.
Luna cursed and ran after the knight. The enemy attempted a blow on Anna. The bard quickly activated her force field shield, making the knight slam against it and fall backwards. Luna jumped on the knight to keep him from getting up. The sounds of trumpets echoed, announcing the end of the first challenge. Everyone sighed in relief.
"That was a close one," Lyria said.
"We made it?" Anna was still in shock. After a few seconds, she jumped and cheered. "I don't believe this! We made it!"
"Good work, everyone."
Amelie walked over to Luna and held out a hand.
"Amelie?" Luna looked up at her friend while still sitting on the knight who was trying to destroy their statue.
Amelie frowned angrily. "It's Chris! I'm trying to offer up a hand of reconciliation and you call me Amelie?"
Luna laughed and took her hand. "Hey, you'll forever be Amelie to me. Even if we make up, I still won't call you Chris."
The mage puffed her cheeks. "The nerve!"
"Hey, umm... could you get off me already? It's hard to breathe," interjected the unfortunate knight Luna was sitting on.
"Oh, sorry." Luna quickly got off.
Anna stood in between them and asked eagerly, "So are you friends again? Are you?"
Amelie and Luna looked at each other and nodded.
"Finally!" A huge grin appeared on Anna's face. "Here. I've been reserving these for this moment!" She threw friendship-themed hats and shirts at them. Some landed on Amelie's face, making her trip and fall from the lack of vision.
"I wonder what tomorrow's challenge is," said Lyria.
"I heard it's going to be a race or something," Luna replied.
Astrid ran back to the base and dropped to her knees in relief upon seeing that their statue survived. "Thank goodness." She fell sideways and just remained on the ground.
Lyngvi sheathed his sword. "You ladies better brace yourselves. The next challenge doesn't sound like it's going to be easy."
Luna smiled confidently. "Well, whatever it is, we'll somehow make it!"
Lyria faced the crusader. "We can't thank you enough, Vi. I don't think we could have made it without your help."
A gentle smile formed on Lyngvi's face. "It's my pleasure. We are allies after all." He waved goodbye before walking back to his own guild base.
Luna smirked and nudged Lyria. "Girl! He came all the way here just to help you out. I think you guys are getting pretty close, huh? I bet it won't be long till he asks you out on a date," she teased. Lyria's cheeks quickly became tinted with red in response to Luna's teasing.
"Oh stop!" Lyria replied, but she secretly hoped Luna wouldn't stop with the teasing. Her heart fluttered whenever she recalled fighting alongside the gallant crusader.
As Luna continued with the teasing, Astrid was still lying on the ground, enjoying the peace that victory brought. Amelie and Anna eventually joined her. The three Noctis Noir members silently enjoyed themselves on the soft earth until Amelie brought up the topic on what to have for dinner.