116 The New Aries
Half a year passed before Aries was reopened again. An announcement was made on television and all over the internet. Additionally, Wen always kept their circle of friends updated through the group chat they made. It was hard to miss.
The whole incident in Aries spread all over the news. It served as a warning for all world developers to strengthen their world's defenses. Wen and Elris had to deal with legal matters for weeks before everything finally got resolved. Although what happened would always haunt everyone, it didn't stop most players from looking forward to the new and improved Aries.
Luna, Amelie, Lyria, Ileanna, Alice, and Epsilon gathered at Astrid's house to enter the gate to Aries together. Half a year was a long time, but with the promise of new content and a safer world, it was worth the wait.
"Is everyone ready?" Astrid asked.
"Yes!" The rest replied simultaneously.
The girls stepped into the gate one by one. They found themselves back at the familiar city of Lamont, which was crowded with new and old players. A wave of nostalgia hit them. They remembered the time they spent at the Lamont Café, shopping for gear at the marketplace, and hanging out with friends at the square. Lamont was also the place where they met some of the Black Rose members for the first time.
Epsilon stared at her surroundings. "It looks generally the same."
"I wonder where our friends are," Amelie looked around.
"If it's Black Rose, I'm sure they're at the center of the square like how they used to. It feels like forever since I've seen them hanging out there." Lyria remembered the good days.
"Let's check there then," said Astrid.
The girls walked to the town square. Indeed, Black Rose was there, but it wasn't just them. The Knights Alliance, Jupiter, and Hot Spicy Crabs were also there hanging out together. They were laughing and chatting loudly.
"You girls took a while," Sed waved at them.
"We were waiting for Luna." Epsilon pointed at the late person.
"Sorry guys. I overslept." Luna smiled awkwardly and rubbed the back of her head. "My bed was just too comfortable."
Anna, Jasmine, and Sphinx were sitting together. Sphinx wore the new armor Anna gave to him. It was a black tank top and matching pants, similar to his previous armor but looking more stylish with decorative belts and extra pockets.
"Nice new outfit, Sphinx!" Jasmine complimented him. "I didn't think you could look more stylish."
"Thanks, Anna made it," replied Sphinx while pointing at the bard.
Jasmine grabbed both Anna's hands. "C-C-Can you make me an outfit too? One that Chris might like?"
"That I might like?" Amelie suddenly appeared.
"CHRIS!" Jasmine screamed.
Amelie flashed her usual innocent smile. "I like you the way you are, Jasmine."
"Jas! Are you alright?" Sphinx and Anna crawled near her.
They both looked at their fainted friend who had the happiest smile on her face.
"She's unconscious, but she looks pretty happy," said Anna.
"CHEERS!" The Knights Alliance and Jupiter members were already drinking together. Frisk and Magnus were among them. Each of them had a mug of alcohol in their hand.
"Drinking already?" Epsilon suddenly appeared before her guinea pig.
"Razette Epsilon! I challenge you to a drinking contest!" Magnus pointed at her.
"Oh?" She was amused by the sudden invitation.
"Magnus, I don't think that's such a good idea..." Astrid tried to stop him. She clearly remembered how Epsilon tried to enslave people at the jazz place the last time they went drinking.
"Heh. Is drinking your weakness, Epsilon?" Magnus folded his arms. He convinced himself that he discovered something good. "Perhaps this might be the contest I'll beat you at!"
"Why don't we both find out?" Epsilon smirked.
"Good luck, Magnus," Luna wished him well before he awakened Epsilon's slaver mode.
"Our levels got reset," said Lyria when she checked her status. "I guess Elris decided to keep our levels the same as the older save file."
Luna sighed. "Looks like we're gonna have to grind for levels all over again. Our hard work redoing those dungeons is gone with the wind."
"I'm still level five," Alice said while crying inside.
"Don't worry, Alice. I'll boost your level. It won't take long." Ileanna dragged Alice off to level up.
Astrid suddenly screamed while looking at her menu tablet.
"What's wrong?" Luna was startled by the sudden scream.
"The market prices are unstable! I have to hurry and farm pelts while they're still expensive!" Astrid ran all the way to the outskirts of Lamont and into the nearby forest where the wolves were. Luna and Lyria couldn't even stop her. She remembered how she used to grind at this spot to level up for the guild war event.
When she killed about twenty wolves, a sudden notification popped up.
Garth has invited you to a party. Accept?
Astrid smiled. How nostalgic.
The moment she hit the accept button, Garth dropped down from a tree and threw an EXP apple for her to catch.
"You know the drill. Let's go," he said with a smile.
I guess having our levels reset isn't so bad after all, thought Astrid.
Noctis Noir - World Guild War Arc / END