58 Razette Epsilon
Astrid wasn't sure how many hours she spent just lying down on the floor staring at the ceiling. The events that happened in the past few hours replayed in her head like it had been all a dream. She wasn't sure how to feel. Happy because she survived? Worried for everyone who was still inside Aries? In despair because they just lost Amelie?
The doorbell rang. Astrid finally stood up to open the door. Behind it, she saw two of her closest friends, Luna and Lyria looking as dazed and confused as she was. All three of them survived the terrible ordeal. None of them knew what to say and remained silent for some time.
Finally, Luna broke into tears and hugged her friends. Lyria and Astrid couldn't help but shed tears as well for the loss of Amelie and the rest of their friends who didn't make it out. Why did things turn out like this? Would they ever be able to see the others again?
"I miss Amelie! She was kind of annoying sometimes, but she didn't deserve this! Why did it have to be her? I'm gonna punch that Lyngvi's face when I see him!" Luna's hand formed into a fist.
"Amelie..." Lyria mouthed the name of their dear friend as her eyes remained fixed on a group photo of the four of them Astrid kept on a picture frame and displayed on her desk. "I'd like to give him a good whipping as well for what he did."
"I really hope Tank and the others made it out. At least Frisk made it."
"Pio sacrificed himself to save me. There's a chance some of the Black Rose members are still inside as well."
Upon hearing this, Astrid felt worried. Was there anything they could do for them?
"We have to go back for them. Amelie might be lost, but we can still save the others," Astrid was determined. She didn't want to give up just yet. "It's going to be dangerous. We'll be risking our lives if we go back there. Are you still willing to return with me to Aries?"
"They sacrificed themselves just to save us. We can't just leave them behind! I'm in," Lyria shared the same feelings. After all, she wasn't done yet with Vi. Tank left Vi to her and she intended to see it through no matter what.
"I'm in too!" Luna followed. She wiped her tears away. "Alright! I'm going to start training right away!"
Astrid looked at them both. "Before we go back in, we have to be prepared. First, we need a way back into Aries. Second, we need to manipulate the code so it gives us an advantage over at least the people who will come after us. Lastly, we need information about the situation and the reason behind Lyngvi and Magnus' actions."
"Collecting info on Magnus might be the easiest to start with," said Lyria.
"Lyria, tell us everything you can about Magnus."
Lyria tried to recall every encounter she had with Magnus and told them. Her memories didn't really give any clues. He was her neighbor, but they weren't exactly that close even if he was fond of her. He wasn't someone she spent a lot of time with. She realized she had nothing substantial to give. But if it was that person...
"I think I know who can give us more information about Magnus," said Lyria.
"Who?" Astrid and Luna asked in unison.
Razette Epsilon was a childhood friend of the Noctis Noir girls. They all went to the same school, and eventually entered the world of Aries together. She was a mage who joined the guild Jupiter because her own friends didn't bother creating a guild yet. Right before Noctis Noir was established, she had to go back to the real world to take over her family's business while her parents were away in another city.
Luna, Astrid, and Lyria stood in front of the seemingly innocent-looking noodle shop, Oodle Noodles. Knowing Epsilon for years, they knew it wasn't just any ordinary noodle joint.
The girls entered the store. There was already a person inside, a man in a business suit. In front of him was a girl with light blue hair tied in a long pony tail, which rested over her left shoulder. She wore a white top with its long sleeves rolled up to her elbows. Her pleated skirt was from her old high school uniform. Over them, she wore a white apron with the Oodle Noodle logo printed on it.
"Huh? What do you mean you don't have the payment now?" Epsilon folded her arms as she cornered the man using her leg against the wall. "We agreed that you would have the money today."
The man apologized. "We're very sorry, Lady Epsilon! Please give us more time."
Epsilon had a frightening look on her face. "A deal is a deal. If you don't have the money, then I suppose you'll have to pay us in some other way." She smiled sadistically. "Dispose of him."
"Yes, Lady Epsilon!" Her servants were quick to obey her command.
"Think twice before delaying payment more than once, fool. This business needs only serious customers," she said as her servants dragged the poor guy away.
Beneath its normal exterior, Oodle Noodle was a secret meeting place for underground transactions of smuggled goods sold by Epsilon's family. They sometimes had a fair share of uncooperative customers who refused to pay.
Eventually, Epsilon noticed her friends at the entrance. "Oh, I didn't see you girls there. Want some noodles?" Gone was her scary look that was there just moments ago.
"Noodles!" Luna and Astrid were excited.
Epsilon called for four bowls of noodles.
She sat on one of the chairs and slouched lazily. She was back to her usual self. "Ahh. I want to go back to Aries. Threatening people is getting kind of boring."
"About Aries..." Lyria began filling her in on the details.
"Say what?" Epsilon couldn't believe it.
"Amelie is dead and Magnus turned evil."
"Magnus? Evil?" She was doing her best to hold in her laughter, but was failing at it. "How can that wimp be evil? He's way too soft!"
The rest of the girls had grave looks.
"Wait what? You're serious?" Epsilon stopped laughing.
"We're trying to collect information on him right now to build a theory on his motives for helping the hackers," Astrid explained as she received her bowl of noodles.
"Although Magnus was my neighbor, you're the one who spent the most time with him out of all of us. We're hoping you could think of any clues regarding why he would want Aries destroyed," added Lyria.
Epsilon stared blankly for a moment. "Nope. No clue."
The rest of the girls sighed.
"Although he can be a show off, that idiot Magnus is a good person. Something like causing fatalities isn't like him. He was probably brainwashed or something."
"We need you to tell us everything you can about Magnus."
Epsilon lazily stretched. "Sure, but this is going to be a long story." She called her servants to prepare green tea for all of them.