"Where am I?" Gaylord's eyes slowly opened.
"Oh. Guess you finally woke up." He heard the voice of an angel. The very same one who saved him from the wolves.
"My angel!" He exclaimed when he saw Ileanna, but immediately frowned when he noticed the unhappy Li Yuan standing behind her.
"We're in a safe area now. Apparently there's a hidden city here where all the survivors gathered."
"A hidden city?" Gaylord's eyes widened.
"You can get up and have a look around later. Li Yuan and I are going to go grab some dinner. See you around!"
Li Yuan glared at Gaylord before the two left the room. Ileanna insisted on checking up on Gaylord's condition. He disliked the idea. Gaylord was not worthy of her time!
"Here's your dinner."
Lyria was back inside Lyngvi's prison cell again. Her visits were the only thing he could look forward to while being held against his will. He could smell dinner. This time, it was a hearty vegetable soup and a modest slab of steak for protein. He was sure she actually cared about his nutrition.
"That curry was delicious. Thanks," he said when he received his dinner. "Why would you cook delicious meals for a mere prisoner?"
"You may be a prisoner, but you're still human. Moreover, you were our friend and ally," replied Lyria as she served him some water with his meal.
Lyngvi remained silent.
After a minute without speaking, Lyria broke the silence, "There's someone here who wants to talk to you."
"Is it Tank?" He guessed.
Lyngvi frowned and looked away. "I can't face him. He must be very angry with me after everything that happened. I caused him a lot of trouble."
"You certainly caused everyone trouble, but you need to face him. Don't just run away from your actions." She stood up and walked to the door. Once she pushed it open, Tank was in view.
"You look like you got thinner, Vi," Tank spoke and walked inside the room.
"You look like you've gotten older," Lyngvi replied.
Tank laughed. "That might be true."
Lyngvi waited for Tank to say something. He didn't want to be the first to bring up the topic.
"We haven't talked since that night you suddenly disappeared from our guild party. I heard us getting locked in headquarters was your doing," said Tank. He kept his eyes on his second-in-command.
"I also heard that you were the one who tampered with my equipment and framed me."
A pained look was visible on Lyngvi's face. "That's also correct."
"And I heard you caused the death of one of the Noctis Noir girls, Amelie."
Lyngvi glanced at Lyria. "I did."
Tank clenched his fist and punched Lyngvi on the face. He didn't hold back. One side of his second-in-command's face became inflamed from the impact. Lyria covered her mouth in shock. Lyngvi's eyes widened in surprise at the sudden attack, but he didn't retaliate. He sat and waited for another punch to come.
"That's for all the nasty things you did," Tank said as he cracked his knuckles.
Instead of another punch, Lyngvi felt an awkward bear hug from his guildmaster. Tank continued, "But I also heard that you did all that to protect the guild. You're probably sick of being asked why, so I'll leave that to the other people to ask. I don't know what your plan is or what's going on in your head, but the guild is your family, Vi. Aries is our home. I want you to spend your time here to reconsider and think about whether all this is worth destroying."
Tank pulled back and left the room. For a few minutes, Lyngvi sat still in a daze. Lyria was afraid to leave him all alone.
"He's too forgiving," Lyngvi shook his head.
"Tank still believes that you're capable of discerning right from wrong. Don't let him down, Vi." Lyria closed the door behind her.
Lyngvi sat alone in the room. He would have to wait for breakfast before he could have visitors again. He passed the time looking back at old memories. Memories of him and the Knights Alliance.
He first met Tank at a bar in Aries. During those days, Aries was his escape from his declining career. As the days passed, he found himself spending more and more time at Aries. That night he met Tank, his situation was particularly bad. He had been upset about being scolded by his boss. Tank, on the other hand, had another big fight with his wife. Being the only players at the bar, they ended up talking about their problems.
After that night, Tank always invited Lyngvi to raids and just to hang out. Lyngvi was glad to have found friends. One night after a successful raid, the two of them went out to drink again.
"I'm thinking of starting a guild for knights and crusaders. We're always going on raids together. Why don't we just form a guild?" Tank told him that night.
"That's a good idea. Did you think of a name yet?" Lyngvi asked.
"The Knights Alliance. It sounds kind of cool, right?"
Lyngvi frowned. "What about the crusaders?"
"The Knights and Crusaders Alliance is too long! Besides, crusaders are basically knights as well, right?"
Lyngvi shrugged. "I suppose so."
Tank suddenly placed a hand on Lyngvi's shoulder. It surprised him a little. "Vi, I want you to be my second-in-command."
"Me? Aren't there other capable people out there who can take that position?" Lyngvi was a little hesitant about being in a leadership position. He didn't really see himself as being a team leader despite being a famous celebrity.
"You seem more calm and rational. I think you'll be able to handle it."
Lyngvi gave it some thought. "Alright."
"Great! I'll establish the guild tomorrow." Tank was too excited.
In Aries, Lyngvi found himself a refuge from the real world. He had real friends who were like family. He felt a better sense of accomplishment there than from being a celebrity.
However, he helped destroy that world he already had.
Lyngvi bent his head down in despair. Everything he wanted was already in his hands, but he was drowned by his dissatisfaction about his singing and acting career. What had he done?
Forgive me, Grandmother. In the end, I wasn't able to follow your advice.
The night was long, but at least he could look forward to breakfast.