"You're not kidding, are you?" Epsilon held Magnus up by the collar.
"I'm telling you the truth." Magnus looked at Epsilon in the eye.
Epsilon spent a minute searching his eyes. His gaze was intense. She knew Magnus was a terrible liar. This time, she couldn't find any signs that suggested a lie.
She dropped him and took a moment to absorb the information. She was deeply disturbed by the revelation. It was someone she knew alright. Someone close to both of them.
So that's why Magnus joined the hackers, Epsilon thought.
"How long have you known?" she asked.
"Since the day I became guildmaster," replied Magnus."Remember when you left the guildmaster's office after you rejected the offer? I chased after you. After we finished talking, the ex guildmaster and I had a private talk. That was when he revealed his plans to me. He asked me to join him. I didn't accept right away, but he always kept an eye on me in case I would tell anyone. I wanted to tell someone about it, like Frisk. I was about to tell him, but the ex guildmaster walked in on us and whispered a threat to me. I'd be dead if I told anyone."
"What's your real reason for joining him?" she asked.
"If I joined him, I'd know more about his plans. He'd stop keeping an eye on me if pretended to be a loyal follower. Perhaps I could find a way to secretly stop him. Stopping him seemed possible at that time. His plans were full of holes. I could've easily tricked him into revealing himself to the authorities. Things were going fine until he managed to recruit Lyngvi. Vi really believed in his message. He was a lot better at planning than the ex guildmaster. With Vi, his plan solidified and this whole mess happened."
"Where is the ex guildmaster right now?"
"Unfortunately, he left the base on a secret journey. That was a day before we fought in the forest. I can only tell you where our headquarters is located."
"Put on your blindfold. You're going to tell the others what you know," Epsilon commanded.
Wen laid out a world map of Aries down on the round table. Kimmy the cat jumped off the table and looked for another nap spot. Alice served the mugs of coffee while the rest were seated.
"Mt. Telros, the highest mountain in Aries, is all the way at the opposite side of the map. That's pretty far away from here," Wen spoke as he examined the map.
"Is there a way to teleport close to that area?" Garth asked.
"As of the moment, any form of warping has been disabled, including player skills and items. Teleporting to the guild headquarters is disabled as well. If we want to get to that mountain, we're going to have to go on a long journey by foot."
Astrid paused to think. Perhaps they'd be able to bypass the disabling with their own code. She attempted to use the priest skill Warp Portal. Nothing happened. She sighed. "It looks like we're going to have to do some more coding."
"Right. I've always been wondering about something. How are you able to have access to skills from other classes? Is that a code you obtained from the hackers?" Wen asked.
"We made this one ourselves while we were outside of Aries."
"Interesting. So you're able to create hacks now?"
"To a certain extent, yes."
Wen was deep in thought. "We could journey there without portals or create a hack to allow teleportation."
"It would probably be safer to make the hack. That way, we'd have a portal back here after reaching the top. We'd also have a means of escape in case things get bad," said Garth.
Astrid drank her cup of coffee. She liked the caramel blend Alice chose for her. After taking another sip, everyone heard a knock on the door.
Alice walked to the door and opened it. Behind it was Epsilon and a blindfolded Magnus beside her.
"Epsilon! Why are you bringing Magnus here?" Astrid was surprised.
"This slave has some important things to say," Epsilon said while pointing at the tied and blindfolded Magnus.
"I am not your slave, Razette Epsilon!" Magnus roared.
"Well, you certainly look like one."
He couldn't argue with that.
Epsilon untied the ropes restricting his arms and had Magnus sit on the chair. His blindfold and the cloth that tied his hands were left on just in case. He began filling in the others what he told Epsilon earlier.
"The previous guildmaster of Jupiter was the mastermind?" Garth was shocked.
"Where are the headquarters?" Wen asked.
"At the bottom of Mt. Telros," Magnus replied.
Wen, Astrid, and Garth's faces turned grim. The enemy probably situated their base there in case anyone would try to reach for the reset mechanism.
"How tight would you say the security is?" Wen asked another question.
"Pretty tight. The whole area surrounding the mountain is under surveillance. They'd see you coming if you approached," Magnus replied. "I wouldn't suggest breaking in."
"Why is the ex guildmaster of Jupiter trying to destroy Aries?" Astrid asked.
"He tells people artificial worlds must be destroyed because it's not the right path of living. However, what he's really trying to do is to hijack this world and make it his own. He aims to become the sole ruler of Aries."
"Wouldn't his followers oppose to that?"
"He can always reason his way out of things and his stupid followers will believe whatever he says. They're like a cult."
Epsilon yawned and sunk lazily in the soft couch. "He should just make his own artificial world. No one has to die over someone's ambitions."
"That's true. I don't know why he chose to take over Aries instead."
"Could he have a grudge against someone?" Astrid wondered.
"That's possible. Not everyone liked the way the ex guildmaster did things, even before he became a crazy cult leader."
Wen weighed the risks of them going for the reset mechanism. It was too dangerous. "Change of plans. Let's just focus on finding survivors and getting everyone out of Aries. Can you take care of the portals, Garth?"
Garth nodded. "We've done it before, we can do it again."
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