Noctis Noir
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53 Safe Refuge
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Noctis Noir
Author :Papina
© Webnovel

53 Safe Refuge

"Sorry it had to end this way, Lyria."

Lyngvi's face was in clear view under the light of the full moon. His expression was different. He wasn't the usual Lyngvi she knew from television and from Aries. Something about him changed considerably.

"I thought you were different from the rest, but I was wrong."

Lyria was down on the ground, paralyzed. She couldn't even let out a single word. She was at his mercy, watching helplessly as the blade he was holding inched closer to her.

"Goodbye, Lyria."

The sword pierced through her body, rendering her unconscious from blood loss.

***

Three weeks have passed since the ball. The Noctis Noir girls lived their days peacefully in their guild headquarters while they didn't have a method of escape yet. No major incident occurred since they took refuge from the monster attacks happening all over the world of Aries.

"The same dream again?" Lyria slowly got up from her bed. She was the last one to wake up that day. When she drew the windows, she could see Amelie having fun riding Rune, their dragon. Anna and Luna were in farmer outfits tending to their crops. It was as if the whole incident never happened.

"Morning, Lyria. Breakfast is ready on the table." Astrid's voice startled her a little.

"Good morning," Lyria forced a cheerful tone.

"Still having those nightmares?"

"Unfortunately. I wish they would just stop." She sighed. "I keep thinking, trying to find a sound reason why Vi or anyone would want to destroy this world and cause the death of numerous people in the process, but I just can't think of one. I don't understand how anyone could be so evil."

"Perhaps it's hard to see it from our perspective. Whether Vi's motives justifies his actions or not, everything has already been set in motion. What is lost is lost. The best we can do is move on and prevent any more casualties."

"I suppose."

"Everything is going to be alright. We might be trapped here, but we still have each other. Maybe do something different today? Try riding Rune perhaps?" Astrid suggested before locking herself inside the extra room. Ever since they were trapped in the guild headquarters, she had been spending most of the day inside the room trying to come up with a plan to get themselves out. So far, she told no one of the progress she was making. She wasn't certain about it being successful and did not like giving false hope.

Lyria went out of the house to join the rest. For the past few days, she tried to get back into reading her favorite historical romance novels, but couldn't seem to concentrate at all. Memories from the night of the ball would disrupt her reading.

"Look at the video Tank sent me. They look so funny!" Luna showed her a video of the Knights Alliance dancing to one of Lyngvi's songs. It was a song Lyria used to put on repeat back when it was first released. Luna suddenly realized this. "Oh, I'm so sorry! I didn't notice that it was his song until now."


"It's ok. I really need to get over this."

"I'm glad we're still able to send messages to each other through the mailing system."

"It's like a long distance relationship, isn't it?"

Luna squealed from the thought.

"Incoming!"

Suddenly, Amelie crashed to the ground with Rune. She rolled forward and continued rolling until she started break dancing. She ended her performance with an improvised pose. "I'm perfectly ok!"

"Wow Amelie. You're like the master of turning embarrassing fail moments into not fail moments."

"It's Chris!" She angrily corrected.

"Let me heal you..." Lyria did the action for heal, but she remembered that her data was erased. "Oh."

"It's alright, Lyria. I carried potions."

"I guess I'm pretty much useless now, right? I have 0 skills and 0 stats. I can't even level up anything. My quests have been reset too, so I don't even have my cooking and alchemy skill." Lyria sighed.

"Don't worry, Lyria! We'll get you back to your original state once this whole mess gets fixed." Anna was determined.

Luna shrugged. "Then again, there's a chance that we might have to abandon this world completely, so it wouldn't matter if your data got erased or not."

"True that."

"I don't want to leave this world! It's our home!" Amelie cried while hugging Rune.

"Let's just hope for the best and help Astrid come up with a plan," said Luna. "I say we sit here and meditate until we receive inspiration!"

"Yeah!" Amelie and Anna eagerly followed her.

Lyria smiled at their optimism. She decided to find something useful to do.

They passed the day away meditating and farming pumpkins.

When dinnertime came, Lyria walked to the door of the room where Astrid experimented on codes. They hadn't seen their guildmaster at all since morning. Lyria noticed Astrid's lunch had been eaten and left on the dining table. She was relieved to see that the assassin remembered to take a break.

"Astrid, it's time for dinner! Astrid?" She opened the door. The room was completely empty.

Lyria checked outside for any signs. "Has anyone seen Astrid?"

"She hasn't been outside the whole day. What's up?" Luna replied.

"Astrid is missing!"

***

The core members of Black Rose gathered around a bonfire at the beach. Earlier, Jasmine and Sed were bickering about who the most cowardly member was among their circle. They decided to settle their argument by telling ghost stories.

"My ghost story is going to be the best. You won't be able to sleep tonight." Sed folded his arms while wearing a confident grin. "Are you ready?"

"Yeah, yeah. Just get on with it," Jasmine said impatiently.

Sed began his story. "It was a dark night similar to this one. A bunch of campers were sitting around a campfire by the shore..."

"I suppose those campers are us, huh?"

"Don't interrupt me, Jasmine! Anyway, these campers were roasting potatoes. As they did, the air grew cold around them. Something was watching them. It was waiting for the right moment to strike!"

Suddenly, something exploded in the sky, making Sed scream. Everyone else looked up in surprise.

"What was that?" Garth asked as he sleepily rubbed his eye.

"Did you set that up Sed?" Sphinx asked.

"Who would scream at their own set-up?" said Jasmine while keeping her eyes up at the sky.

"Sed would probably," Pio responded quickly.

"You guys are so mean!" Sed stood up.

Astrid fell out of the cloud of smoke. Garth quickly used a wind spell to cushion the impact and caught her.

"Woah! Astrid! How did you get here?" Jasmine was confused.

Astrid was coughing from the smoke. "I tried editing the code for a warp ticket."

"You mean you got in here through hacking!?"

"Basically, yes." She stood up. "This is the first time I've used it though, so I'm not sure how well I can replicate it to make portals to other guild headquarters. As you can see, my location of entry was off."

"Still, this is pretty nice progress. You made it here in one piece!"

Garth had some hope. "If we can somehow make portals to connect all the guild headquarters, we can coordinate and figure out a way out of Aries."

"So we're just going to abandon this world?" Sed was a little sad when he thought of going back to the real world.

"With monsters running free like this, it can cause serious casualties. Unless we have a programmer as skilled as the creator of this world, we can't revert them back to normal."

"What if we look for the creator, M.K.?"

"There are very little details regarding his whereabouts. Besides, we can't even find Wen. How are we supposed to find the creator himself who has all the power to shroud his location?"

"You have a point."

"I hope Wen didn't get caught up in all this."

"Me too," Jasmine followed.

"First off..." Garth turned to Astrid. "Can you make permanent portals, Astrid?"

Astrid thought about it. "I've never attempted it before, but I'll see what I can do."

"Is there any way we can help?" Pio asked.

The assassin paused to think. "I need you to mail members of other guilds. The location code I used to get here actually came from the codes in the private messages."

"We're on it!" Sed and Jasmine were fired up.

"Pio, please prepare the guest room," Garth requested. "If we can gather all the players who have programming knowledge, maybe we can come up with a way to escape this world."

"Are you going to mail them?" Pio asked.

"No, the messaging system might be monitored. We have to tell them face to face."

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