The guildmasters presented several candidates who had knowledge of artificial world development. Every day, they met up at the Black Rose Headquarters to work on the project. As they made progress, there were no signs of any movement from the people behind the fall of Aries. They took advantage of this temporary peace to perfect their hack while the rest lived out their days in tranquility.
"I made roasted pumpkins!" Amelie announced as she served the tray of pumpkins on the dining table in their guild kitchen.
"Pumpkins again?" Luna complained. "I really miss having meat."
"Pumpkins are the only thing Lyria grew in our farm. I heard Jupiter has potatoes. I'll go ask Frisk for some seeds."
"I could really use some fries."
Astrid came out of the bedroom and was ready to head out to the Black Rose Headquarters like usual to help work on the project. Luna and Amelie wished her luck before she left the house.
Upon arriving at the usual meeting room, she joined the other players who were part of the project. After an hour, everyone stopped. The code was complete.
They've reviewed every single line they put in over and over to reduce the chances of error. They didn't have the convenience of doing a test run and then debugging. Summoning this kind of portal just anywhere was difficult. They needed to make use of a deactivated gate, but once they do, the possibility of the enemies noticing was high.
"We did it?" She couldn't believe it.
"Now we just have to test it," said one of the players in the room.
Garth was pleased with their progress. "We only have one chance of testing the code, so we have to make the most out of it. There are sixteen of us in this room. We will split the guilds into sixteen groups. Each one of us will be assigned to a specific gate in Aries. We have to activate the gates together and exit as fast as we can before the enemy makes a move to stop us. If the code fails, immediately warp back to the guild instance field."
Everyone agreed to Garth's plan.
"Go and spread the news. If we're able to get everyone informed today, we can execute the escape plan tomorrow."
The other players hurriedly left the room. They were too excited to tell everyone the news. It was only Garth and Astrid left in the room.
"I guess we're going to be in different groups, huh?"
"Yeah. Please stay safe, Astrid."
"You too, Garth. As well as everyone in your group."
Garth suddenly hugged her.
"G-Garth!?" Astrid froze.
"Sorry. Hugging you calms me down. We're in a life and death situation. It scares me to even think about the worst case scenario. When tomorrow comes, we have to face the outcome whether it is good or not. I hope we can avoid any casualties." He walked away calmly as if nothing happened.
Even the usually calm Garth was anxious.
She stared at her own hands. They were trembling. She was certainly afraid of what was to come.
If we could get out of this mess, that would be great, she thought.
She walked to the door and left the room. All of them would find out tomorrow if they had a real chance of surviving.
The time came to execute the plan. They decided to start moving at three in the morning to hopefully buy them more time in escaping. After all, evil masterminds need some sleep as well.
Noctis Noir and the Jupiter mages were in one group headed by Astrid. They were to activate the gate located in a town on top of a stone mountain. Garth led the Black Rose members and all the Knights Alliance members. Their assigned location was at a mountain village nearby which also had a gate.
The Black Rose Headquarters became crowded with people. In front of the crowd were sixteen priests in charge of making warp portals to the locations assigned to each group. Garth stood behind them.
"Send a signal if your gate is working. If things go wrong, immediately warp back to your guild headquarters or go to the nearest working gate. Any questions?" Garth gave the final instructions. No one raised a question. "May all of us stay safe. Good luck to everyone! Priests, you may create the portals."
The girls braced themselves. Once the portal to the mountain town was open, they stepped in and ran for the gate. Astrid wasted no time in running the code when they arrived at the spot. After a few seconds, the gate activated.
"It's working!" Astrid exclaimed. "Hurry and exit!"
The girls allowed the other players to exit before them. Players cheered as they jumped into the portal that led them back to the real world.
"You girls should exit already." Frisk stopped to tell them before entering the portal.
"I'll head in last in case the portal needs to be reactivated," said Astrid.
"We're not leaving without Astrid!" Amelie raised her hand.
"Just go, Frisk." Luna pushed the Jupiter mage into the portal against his will.
Finally, all the other players made it through the gate. It was only the Noctis Noir girls left.
Astrid sighed in relief. "Ok, now it's our turn to exit..."
Suddenly, the portal deactivated.
"What?" Her eyes widened. What caused the sudden disruption?