Lyngvi swiftly moved away from the hit box of Epsilon's marionette. He already knew her patterns after having fought her before. Predicting its movements was easy. He decided to play with them a little and summon his own marionette, borrowing a skill from the dark magic skill line. He never attempted such as skill before, but it should help him defend properly against three players and one summoned mob. The size of his summoned marionette was twice that of Epsilon's.
Epsilon couldn't believe it. For a moment, she stayed stunned in place with wide eyes.
"Epsilon! Get a hold of yourself!" Sphinx shouted. "You can beat this marionette! You're the real dark mage." He hoped to snap his companion out of what looked to him like being frozen in fear.
Epsilon summoned her menu tablet and started snapping photos like crazy.
"What are you doing!?" Sphinx exclaimed.
"That marionette looks too much like Lyria! I need to take pictures and show it to her!"
"That's what you were standing stunned for!?"
It was true. The marionette Lyngvi summoned had the same hair and priestess clothes as Lyria. Anyone who knew Lyria could see the resemblance. Epsilon was too amused by the similarities.
Jasmine quickly pulled both of them away before they were hit by Lyngvi's giant Lyria marionette. Epsilon went on snapping shots of Lyngvi's obvious maddening love for Lyria.
"We need a plan!" Jasmine shouted.
"I wonder if I should make a marionette based off someone too..." Epsilon wondered.
"Make a marionette of me!" Frisk volunteered. "Make him super cool please!"
Epsilon summoned two marionettes, one resembled Frisk while the other resembled Magnus. She thought it would be interesting to see them fight against Lyngvi's marionette. The Magnus marionette immediately received a damaging slap the moment it tried to jump on the Lyria marionette.
"This feels oddly satisfying to watch," Epsilon commented.
"You have a weird fetish," said Sphinx before he used invisibility once more to sneak up behind Lyngvi.
While Epsilon's marionettes were keeping Lyngvi's marionette busy, Sphinx made an attempt to stun Lyngvi with a surprise attack. Unfortunately, he was the one who got stunned instead. Lyngvi beat him down, making him spill blood on the grass. Sphinx was momentarily disabled.
"Sphinx!" Jasmine ran to his rescue before he received any more life-threatening blows.
The Lyria marionette's attention turned to Jasmine.
"Jas, look out!" Sphinx shouted.
With the swing of an arm, the marionette flicked Jasmine out of the way. Epsilon sent the Frisk marionette to block the next attack. Jasmine crawled out of harm's way.
Lyngvi sighed. They were taking too much of his time. He needed to regroup with Cecil quickly.
Epsilon rushed in to engage Lyngvi in close combat while her marionettes held the Lyria marionette in place. Jasmine also followed, making sure every hit she made had a chance of stun.
This is bad, Lyngvi thought to himself.
He went invisible and borrowed a wind barrier spell from the mage skill tree. It was enough to cause knockback on his attackers, giving him some distance and time to slam a punch on the ground. The knight's skill Ground Break activated, its range was far enough to reach Sphinx.
The three of them were down on the ground at Lyngvi's mercy. Epsilon cursed as she forced herself up to continue fighting. Sphinx did the same.
Lyngvi merely looked at them. "I keep seeing the same scene over and over. People getting beat down and still struggle to continue fighting when the odds are against them."
"I promised Jas that Black Rose will be back together... so I can't lose here!" Sphinx shouted and suddenly found the strength to pounce like an awakened tiger. He landed a punch on Lyngvi. It caught the celebrity idol unaware.
"Ooh. That's definitely going to reduce his superstar face level by around fifty points," Epsilon remarked.
Lyngvi fell on the ground after being knocked off-balance. He got up slowly. "Why do you still continue to fight for this world?"
"Aries is our home," Sphinx replied simply.
Lyngvi closed his eyes. "I see."
When Epsilon was about to land a hit with her scythe, he vanished suddenly. They lost track of him. No further attacks followed. He probably meant to escape them.
Epsilon cursed. "We could have ended him there." She clenched her fist. "Next time, we have to defeat him."
"Now is not the time to stand here, Epsi. Something tells me he's going to join Cecil in the fight below," Sphinx said. He was just as frustrated as Epsilon for letting Lyngvi get away, but he was more relieved to have survived the battle along with his companions. He didn't want to have to see another person die.
"We have to regroup with Wen!" Jasmine ran first.
The rest followed.
As the fighting below intensified, the Noctis Noir girls finally reach the top of the mountain. Their climb up had been delayed by nearly zero visibility, endless hailstorms, and random avalanches that triggered whenever Amelie corrected them about her nickname. They no longer encountered any mobs, but the conditions alone were enough to make the journey difficult.
"Amelie, you really need to stop shouting," Luna said.
"It's... CH—" Before Amelie could shout again, Luna covered her mouth to avoid another avalanche.
"I see something!" Lyria pointed up ahead.
Indeed, there was a cave there where they were able to take shelter from the severe weather. They were glad that they all arrived in one piece.
"C-C-Can we start a campfire here? It's f-f-freezing cold." Amelie hugged Rune for warmth.
However, there was one problem.
"Is this really the place?" Astrid asked as she examined the cave.
"There's no other cave around here," replied Lyria.
The cave was bare. There was no obvious sign of any mechanism.
"The reset mechanism... doesn't exist!?" Luna gasped.
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