115 A Feast and Serenity
Somewhere in the outskirts of Lamont, Sphinx stood alone in front of the simple grave they made for his sister Christina. Most of their memories together had been negative, but long before that, he and Christina were normal siblings who played together happily. He missed those days. If he could turn back time to undo the past, he would.
"Sphinx." He heard a familiar voice.
He turned around and saw Anna standing behind him.
"I've been looking everywhere for you. I thought you'd be here," said Anna.
Anna handed Sphinx some clothes. Sphinx could tell that the material and design had been well thought out for functionality. He was surprised how fast Anna managed to make him something.
"This is...?" Sphinx was a little confused.
"I saw that your clothes have been damaged by all the fighting, so I made you an outfit in a similar style. I hope you like it."
Sphinx was amazed by the crafted outfit. No one ever made him something like it before. It cheered him up. "Thanks Anna." He managed to smile.
"It's thanks for saving me," Anna said warmly.
"I couldn't save my sister," he said sadly. "My actions led to this. She didn't deserve this fate."
"It's not completely your fault, Sphinx. Christina had the chance to choose good over evil many times and not to blame others for her circumstances. You might have helped pushed her towards that direction, but it was her choice in the end." Anna placed a hand on his shoulder and smiled. "Cheer up, ok?"
The past can't be undone. It's useless to sulk over it now. Sphinx knew this.
"This is a burden I will carry with me, but I won't let it stop me from moving forward." Sphinx clenched his fists.
"Let's move forward together... with everyone!" Anna held out her hand.
Sphinx smiled. It was nice having friends. He accepted her hand.
"Luna, what are you doing?" Astrid asked.
Luna was hiding behind a bush at the Lamont square. She was observing Tank and the Knights Alliance drinking together merrily. She didn't notice Astrid come up behind her and was a little startled when her friend spoke.
"I want to join them, but I'm also too shy to after what I did to Tank!" Luna covered her face in embarrassment after remembering the good luck kiss she gave before the battle. "How am I supposed to face him?"
"Just go out there!" Amelie popped out of nowhere and pushed Luna out of the bush.
"Amelie!" Luna shouted angrily.
"It's Chris!" Amelie pouted.
"Luna?" Tank noticed her. He immediately remembered the kiss and blushed.
"Oh, hi Tank!" Luna waved awkwardly.
"Watching this whole thing is making me feel awkward too," said Astrid loud enough for only Amelie to hear.
"Huh? What's happening?" Amelie was confused.
"I'm glad we both made it out." Tank laughed to get rid of the nervousness.
"Yeah! We did it!" Luna did the same.
"So, do you want to have a drink with us?" Tank invited her.
"S-Sure!" Luna agreed and went to join the Knights Alliance members.
"It's probably going to take some time before they're comfortable with each other again, but I think they'll be alright," said Astrid before she walked away from the scene. Tank wasn't ignoring her. That was a good sign.
"Wait! I still don't get what's happening!" Amelie remained confused.
As Astrid was walking to the café to get some complimentary sweets, she accidentally tripped on something and fell on the ground. After slowly getting up, she realized what she tripped on was Garth's foot. Garth had been napping the whole time under the tree. It woke him up.
"Astrid?" He sleepily rubbed his eye and yawned.
"Sorry. I didn't see your foot there," Astrid apologized.
"No worries." He patted the spot next to him. "Come sit."
She sat down next to him. For a few minutes, they enjoyed the peaceful scenery in silence. There were a lot of things to say, but for some reason no words would come out. What did they think of this outcome? What will they do from now on? It looked like the topic would have to wait for a bit longer.
It had been weeks since they were last able to just sit still and relax. They were thankful to have the chance to experience serenity again. Eventually, Garth went back to his nap. Astrid decided to just skip the free pudding at the Lamont Café and also lie down.
Astrid closed her eyes for a moment. When she finally had them open, she saw Garth's face inches away from hers. He leaned in for a kiss on the lips, which surprised her. When he pulled back, he placed a finger over his mouth.
"That one is a secret," he said with a smile and moved back to his napping position.
That night, Lamont was transformed into a large restaurant, similar to the feasts held during the guild war event. Fireworks were constantly decorating the night sky. NPCs entertained the guests with music and dancing. Elris made sure to serve enough good food for everyone. The players ate their fill and indulged themselves in merriment.
It was a bittersweet celebration with the memories of lost friends at the back of their minds. They hoped a tragedy like that would never happen again. They lost too much and gained very little. Elris was determined not to overlook the world's defenses again. He swore he would never make the same mistake again and hoped the people of Aries wouldn't lose confidence in him.
They saved Aries, but Aries would never be the same again.