Minutes after he received the copy of Astrid's video, Pio ran to his guildmates and gathered them together. The frantic look on his face told them that he had something serious to say. Pio was usually never kidding when he had that expression.
"You guys have to watch this. I was just downstairs with Astrid and we saw Lyria with Lyngvi!" Pio played the video.
"Is this a joke, Pio?" Yaya asked.
"Guys, you have to believe me. I think something is really going to happen. Lyria and Astrid are probably fighting Lyngvi downstairs right now!"
Garth became uneasy. "I'm going downstairs."
Sed and Jasmine pulled him back before he moved away.
"Wait, Garth! You just recovered. You're in no condition to fight right now," said Jasmine.
Sed agreed. "Yeah. We're not gonna risk losing our guildmaster again! You can leave this one to us."
Garth calmly turned to look at them. "If what Lyngvi said is true, I'm going to end up fighting anyway."
"Well, why don't we all go downstairs together then?" Pio suggested.
While they were on their way down, they encountered Lyria at the stairs. She tried to warn them of what was about to happen.
"Where is Astrid?" Garth asked.
"She's holding off Lyngvi."
"We'll go help her."
"Be careful. He can erase your data. I need to go warn the others."
Suddenly, they all heard a loud sound coming from the ballroom.
"What was that!?" Jasmine was worried.
"Let's go help Astrid stop Lyngvi first. We need answers from that guy," said Sed.
The Black Rose members hurried down the stairs and ran through the rose garden. They stopped when they saw the Noctis Noir guildmaster standing still with her back facing them. The updo Lyria fixed for her was already in disarray and her gown was soiled with blood and dirt from the fight.
"Astrid? Are you alright?" Sed and the other Black Rose members ran to her.
The assassin didn't turn around. Her eyes were locked on the spot where the crusader vanished. "He got away."
"Your data didn't get erased, did it?"
"What do we do now?" Jasmine was worried.
Garth took a deep breath and calmly analyzed the situation. "If something is going to come, we can either fight or take refuge at a safe area. If it's going to be like that incident with Tank, fighting could be fatal. I suggest we look for safe zones to lessen the number of casualties."
"How do we even figure out which places are safe under this amount of time?"
"We don't even know what's coming," said Jasmine.
Garth flashed a serious look. "We have to exit this world. Fast."
"Where's the nearest gate to the old world?" Jasmine asked.
Astrid opened the map on her menu tablet. "Lamont."
Sed nodded. "We need to gather all the priests and have them make warp portals for everyone."
Pio noticed that his mentor was missing. "Where did Yaya go?"
"Wasn't she just with us?"
"I'm going to go look for her." Pio ran back upstairs.
Garth looked at everyone. "Let's hurry."
Frightened players froze in place as a large winged creature crashed into the room through the tall glass windows. Glass shards and rubble littered the floor in seconds.
"Is this for real? Or is this part of the challenge round?" another person asked in confusion.
Sed shouted as loud as he could. "Don't fight it! Priests make a warp portal to Lamont! Everyone please exit this world as soon as possible. This is not part of the event!" He continued repeating his words while running around the ballroom.
The whole crowd was in chaos as more flying creatures appeared and swooped down to attack players. A few priests did as Sed commanded and made warp portals. Players quickly ran to the nearest portals.
"Frisk! You have to enter the portal quick!" Luna shouted when she spotted Frisk still remaining in place.
"I can't find Magnus," Frisk replied. He was desperately looking around for his friend.
"Maybe he's already at Lamont? We'll make a portal for him if we see him around here."
"Please do. I need to check on our other members."
"Leave it to us!" Luna did a thumbs up.
"Lyria, you have to enter the portal. It's too dangerous for you to stay here," said Astrid with a hint of urgency.
"I wish I could help, but my skills..." Lyria was still devastated from her loss.
"Right now, our priority is surviving. Please stick close to Anna. Luna and I will catch up after we get everyone else out."
"Don't worry, Miss Lyria! I'll protect you!" Anna swore.
"Thanks. Please stay alive, you two!"
Pio frantically searched the chaos of fleeing players and rubble for any signs of his mentor. Just as he was close to giving up, he caught a glimpse of her from afar. He ran as fast as he could to catch up with the retreating figure.
"Yaya! I'm so glad I found you. Let's go! The others are waiting..."
When Yaya turned her head to answer, she no longer had her usual warm smile. It was replaced with an unfamiliar serious expression. "I'm sorry. I can't go with you."
"What do you mean? It's too dangerous to stay here! We have to leave this place."
Yaya gave him a sad smile. "This is where we have to part, Pio. Thank you for everything up until now."
"Yaya, why aren't you coming with us?" Pio couldn't understand his mentor's hesitation. This wasn't the usual Yaya he knew.
"Our time is too short and explanations are too long. Now, let's pretend that this was all a dream."
Yaya flicked sleeping powder on Pio, before he could say anything in reply.
Pio did all he could to keep his eyes open. Yaya's figure in front of him was slowly becoming a blur. Eventually, he collapsed on the ground, unable to stay awake. Yaya gave him one last look before repressing any emotion that might make her turn back.
In the midst of all the chaos happening at the ball venue, the members of the Knights Alliance were having their own lively party at their guild headquarters. The knights and crusaders went wild cheering for a fellow member singing a song on karaoke while drunk.
"Who needs a ball?" A tipsy member said after drinking every last drop of beer from his mug and slamming it on the table.
"Yeah. We're having a totally good time on our own!" His companion laughed with him.
"Hey, have you guys seen Vi?" Tank interrupted their conversation. His eyes continued scanning the room for any sign of his second-in-command Lyngvi.
"He did say he was going to get more liquor from Lamont. He's been gone for a while though."
The Knights Alliance guildmaster was a little worried. "I hope he didn't run into trouble. I'll go check up on him."
Tank took out his menu tablet to teleport himself back to town. When he pressed the teleport button, nothing happened. He pressed it several times, but the teleport wouldn't work.
"What?" Tank's eyes widened.
"I can't exit the map."
The two members tried it themselves. Nothing.
"I can't exit the map either!"
"Can anyone exit the map?" Tank raised his voice to address the other members in the room.
The rest of the members attempted to teleport back to town, but the button wouldn't work for them either. They tried every teleport item they had. However, the result was the same. They were trapped inside the guild headquarters.
Just what is happening? Tank's face grew serious.