Luna wiped the sweat off her forehead after landing one last punch on the dummy target. She was doing her daily training routine. When she was about halfway done, Tank entered the shaded training area with his own pair of hand wraps.
"Mind if I join you?" he asked.
Luna couldn't help but notice his bulky muscles which were visible with the white tank top he was wearing. He never skipped on daily training. She told herself she should be as diligent as him.
"Sure," Luna replied.
Tank stood in front of the practice dummy beside hers and began throwing punches. Luna noticed his movements weren't as powerful and precise like usual. She could tell because she always admired his technique and tried to follow it.
"Are you alright?" she asked. "You don't seem as energetic as usual."
Tank laughed. "I can't hide it from you, huh?"
"Is something bothering you?"
"Nothing big. Just worried about Vi. We had a little talk and I kind of punched him." He scratched the back of his neck. "Do you think he can still be a celebrity after I damaged his face?"
Luna smiled awkwardly. "I think he'd be better off spending some time away from fame. His face will heal anyway."
"I hope so. I wouldn't want to be the reason for his inability to become an actor again."
Tank still really cares about Vi, Luna thought and smiled to herself.
Suddenly, there was a ringing sound. It resembled the music from the Frisk App. Both of them were surprised.
"Is that your phone?" Luna asked.
"What are you talking about? We don't have phones. And why in the world would I have that weird ringtone?" Tank replied. The music reminded him of his nightmare with Frisk. He shuddered.
Luna checked her menu tablet. Frisk's name was on the screen. She almost screamed. "It's Frisk!" She hit the answer button.
At first, she didn't hear anything. The signal was too horrible to get a stable connection. Eventually, Frisk's voice was audible.
"Luna? Can you hear me?" Frisk asked.
"Frisk! Tank and I can hear you."
"Thank goodness. I lost track of all of you at some point. It's like you disappeared off the map. I was getting worried. It took me a while to finally reach you."
"We're in an area outside of the current map of Aries."
"A hidden area? How did you end up there?"
"We found a city where the survivors are staying."
"That's great then. You'd best take them out of Aries as fast as possible. I've found something weird happening around. Whole areas are disappearing overnight from the map. There are new islands appearing as well. It doesn't look good."
Tank and Luna glanced at each other. They were both worried by Frisk's news.
Frisk continued, "I'll be monitoring these weird islands. I'll notify you if danger is coming your way. In the meantime, work on getting everyone out before it's too late."
"Thanks Frisk," said Luna.
"Stay safe and good luck!" The call ended.
Tank loosened up his hand wraps. "We'd better inform the others."
When Lyngvi woke up the next day, his forehead was burning and his body ached. He barely had the strength to get up. As he wondered what happened to him, Lyria entered the room with a bowl of chicken porridge for breakfast. She noticed his pale face.
"Are you ill?" Lyria placed a hand on his forehead. "You're burning!"
Lyngvi coughed. "I never thought I'd get sick in this world."
"There are players who are sick as well, but they're starting to recover with the medicine I made for them. It looks like you caught the same illness as them. I'll make some medicine for you after I gather more herbs."
"Thank you." His headache prevented him from getting up.
"Here. Let me feed you." Lyria took the spoon and filled it with porridge. "Say aah!"
Lyngvi ate the spoonful of porridge without complaining. He felt rather lucky to be cared for despite being a prisoner.
As she bent down to feed him, the necklace around her neck became visible. It fell out from underneath the cloak she wore. Lyngvi recognized the ring on the necklace. It was the special anniversary ring he gave out during his concert, around a year after his debut. Only those who attended the concert would have that item.
"Where did you get that ring?" Lyngvi struggled to speak.
Lyria realized that the ring was visible. She became a little embarrassed. "Oh this? I attended your anniversary concert."
His eyes widened at her revelation. "Were you one of my fans?"
She nodded. "I've been following your work for years."
He wasn't sure how to react. He was both happy and awkward at the same time. "Thank you. I'm sorry your idol couldn't continue to produce anything good."
"I'm sure that if you make a return, you'd still have your loyal fans. This time, make something not aimed at selling or appealing to a mass audience. It'd be nice to hear your own tunes for once, without the influence of other people's critical opinions. Perhaps that would feel a lot more freeing." Lyria smiled as she pushed strands of her hair behind her ear.
Lyngvi stared at her for a moment. Make his own tune? He had never attempted such a thing. His songs were all composed by other people. "What if most people don't like my songs?"
"If there will be people who will dislike your music, there will also be people who will like it. So don't worry too much about it. It's all about reaching those people who appreciate your work."
Lyngvi closed his eyes.
Lyria placed the half-finished bowl of porridge down beside him. She quietly left the room after she noticed a light snore.
Before she walked back to the hidden city, she lingered for a moment clutching the ring hanging from her neck. Who knew the idol she admired all these years turned out to be the murderer of her friend as well? It was hard to form an opinion about Lyngvi, but it was also hard to hate him after seeing how vulnerable he was. She sighed and walked off to make medicine.