Luna deactivated her Illuminate skill and cast Superior Holy Smite on the player trying to escape.
The player who attacked them was struck by Luna's attack, however, he continued to retreat until he reached some nearby bushes and jumped into them.
"Xun Guiying, Nana, are you two okay?! What's that guy's problem?!" Jia hurried over towards Luna and Xun Guiying. She was clearly angered by the sudden unprovoked attack. She was so shocked by the unexpected assault that she had no idea how to respond.
Luna reached out and helped Xun Guiying to her feet as she said, "I apologize for the sudden push."
Xun Guiying shook her head as she smiled and said, "You saved me, there's no need for an apology. I should be the one thanking you, Luna." She stood up to her feet with the help of Luna and dusted herself off.
"What was that all about? What a jerk!" Jia said as she angrily stomped her feet.
"I'm not sure. But, I think we should forget about this quest and head back to the city for now. I doubt he's alone. After all, unless he was extremely confident in himself, he would not have foolishly attacked the six of us alone. He's most likely a part of a player killer group." Luna explained.
"Player killer? Why would they want to target us?" Xun Guiying asked with a visible frown on her face.
Luna furrowed her brows as she pondered Xun Guiying's words. A certain thought passed through her mind, however, she felt that this was just a coincidence and had nothing to do with it. After all, player killer groups were increasing in popularity as players leveled up.
"Player killer groups have been on the rise lately. We should be more careful from now on." Luna warned.
"Starry, Su Cui, Yu Lan, let's head back to Amaharpe." Luna said to her other three party members.
Luna and her party began to make their way back towards Amaharpe through the forest. However, as they walked through the forest, Luna felt as if they were being followed and watched. But, she was unable to tell how many players were nearby. Though she was quite sure that there was more than one player following them.
"Nana? Hey, Nana?" Jia waved her hand in front of Luna's face to grab her attention.
Luna snapped out of it and turned to look at Jia, "Ah, sorry... Yes?"
Jia pouted, "Geez, you haven't been listening to a single word I've been saying this entire time have you?"
"I became a bit distracted with some distant thoughts. I think we should speed up our current pace." Luna said. She knew better than anyone that her friends were not suited to dealing with PVP situations. After all, PVP was not for everyone and there were those who chose to focus mainly on the PVE aspect of RML.
Therefore, Luna preferred not to get into a direct confrontation with other players if possible.
"You're still concerned about that player who attacked us, aren't you? You're being too paranoid, Nana. He was probably just hoping to get lucky that's all." Jia said as she shook her head after noticing Luna appeared to be distracted.
"We're being followed." Luna said in a low voice.
"What? Where?" Jia was getting ready to look around everywhere, however, she was quickly stopped by Luna.
"Don't look for them. Just keep walking normally. We can't let them know we're suspicious." Luna said as she continued to walk in an unhurried manner. There was a good chance that they would not be able to outrun them if they tried to make a sudden break for it. However, Luna had a plan that could possibly help all of them escape in one piece.
"What are we going to do?" Xun Guiying whispered.
"I still need another minute before the cooldown on my skill ends. When that happens, I will give you all a signal. You need to run as fast as you can and create as much distance as possible. I am unsure how long it will affect other players." Luna explained.
"Why do we have to run away? We can fight...!" Su Cui said as she kept her voice down. She did not understand why Luna wanted them to run away without even putting up a fight. Besides, if they followed Luna's plan then she would be the last one to escape which would put her in the most danger.
"F-fight? No way, I can't do that..." Starry said in a frightened tone of voice. She could handle fighting against monsters, but players were a different story. She had tried to duel with some of her friends before, however, every single time she would just panic and become confused. For some reason, just the thought of fighting another player terrified her. PVP was definitely out of the question for her.
"Then you can run ahead, but I'm not going to leave Luna here alone." Su Cui said in a determined tone of voice.
"We don't even know how many there are. It could just be two or three and in that case, we would be running from a fight we can win. But, if there is a full party then I'm not sure what we can do but to try and escape." Yu Lan said.
As everyone started to whisper their ideas, agreements, and disagreements to one another, it gave Luna a slight headache. Her friends were underestimating players who focused on PVP. After all, fighting against a monster and a player were two completely different things.
Maybe her friends were right and she was overthinking things. But, that may have just been due to the long time she spent inside of the Chaotic Dogma Realm. In that place one would suffer an existence wipe if they were eliminated, however, the worse that could happen to them here was that they would lose some exp and maybe drop an item or two.
Although it would not affect her friends too much if they lost a piece of equipment or two, since they only had uncommon gear and one piece of rare equipment on average, it was an entirely different story for Luna.
Not only was most of Luna's equipment rare quality, but there was one piece of equipment that she had most recently obtained that was of a priceless value at this stage in the game. She possessed an epic quality weapon from completing the SS-ranked quest! If she ended up being killed and dropped her epic weapon, it would be a huge loss.
But, in the end, the main reason that she did not want to stay and fight was that she did not want to see her friends become someone else's victims.
Woosh! Woosh! Woosh!
All of a sudden, three arrows soared through the air. They came from inside of some of the nearby bushes and was headed right towards Luna.
Just as soon as the arrows were fired, Luna took two quick steps forward which caused the arrows to just barely miss her. To others, it appeared that she stumbled forward and avoided the arrows by chance, however, to a more keen observer it would almost seem as if Luna knew of the attack beforehand.
"Surround them!" A voice suddenly shouted. The voice sounded startled as if it was shocked by something that had just transpired. From the forest, ten players rushed out and surrounded Luna and her party, blocking all of their potential escape paths. There had nowhere to run!
"What's the meaning of this?!" Jia snapped at the players who suddenly surrounded them. They had all come out of nowhere! It seemed that Luna really was not being paranoid after all.
"Hehehe, a group of beauties! It's our lucky day." One of the ten players said.
"Oh! It's true, that girl really is a Trephasia! I wonder if she'll have a little one on one time with me after this." Another one of the players said.
"Dream on, losers! Nana is too good for trash like you!" Jia scoffed.
"What did you say you-!" The player became furious when Jia called him a loser and was getting ready to attack, however, he was stopped by the player who appeared to be the leader of the group.
"Don't forget what we came here for. Or do you want to be the one to explain to the boss when he arrives here and finds things in a mess, Du Cheng?" The leader of the group said. He had on a strange leather armor with a pair of talons on his hands. He was wearing a mask with the face of an owl on it which made him give off an eerie feeling.
"No, of course not. I'll admit my wrongs, big bro Owl." The one called Du Cheng responded in an apologetic manner.
"What is it you want with us?" Luna said in a cold tone of voice as she looked towards Owl.
"I have to say, I'm surprised you managed to avoid those arrows. It seems my attempt at greeting you properly has fallen flat. We just want you to stay here and be our guest for a while. If you do what we say, then your friends will be unharmed. Not too difficult, right?" Owl said.
"You just want us to stand here and do nothing all day?! Do you really think we have nothing better to do?!" Su Cui said as her facial expression darkened.
Owl sighed, "You can fight if you want, but I would recommend against doing so. You can also try to run, but again, I recommend against so. After all, I can't guarantee your safety if you perform such reckless and thoughtless actions." He responded.
"Why do you want us to remain here?" Luna asked. It would not be too long until the cooldown on her skill was up. It appeared that they were not going to make a move immediately which was a good sign and allowed her time to wait for the cooldown to be over.
Although the one called Owl said that he would not harm them, she did not trust his words for a second. What reason would ten players have to surround them and stop them from moving forward other than to harass or harm them?
"Do you remember the Chaotic Dogma Realm? I believe you met our boss there. I'm sure that explains everything you need to know." Owl said in a lazy one of voice. From his body language, one could tell that he found this to be a bother and a nuisance.
"Chaotic Dogma Realm? Boss? What is he going on about?" Su Cui said with a frown.
Luna, on the other hand, furrowed her brows. She knew exactly what he was talking about, who these people were, and what they were doing here. They were not here to rob them or randomly kill them, but rather, they were sent by Silent Steps.
Back in the Chaotic Dogma Realm, Silent Steps had not only threatened her to heal him but also tried to eliminate her. Before he left, he swore that he would get his revenge on her and it looked like he was finally keeping his promise.
"I understand. Then, if it's me you want, let my friends go. They have no part in this and know nothing about it. They should not have to suffer for what I've done." Luna said calmly.
"Nana, what are you saying?! Do you really think we'd just leave you alone with these jerks?!" Jia said immediately rejecting Luna's idea.
"That's right, how can we just abandon you?" Xun Guiying said.
Luna glanced over towards Jia and gave her a meaningful look.
At first, Jia appeared to be reluctant. However, she gave a slight nod to show that she understood. Since their attention was mostly focused onto Luna, Jia hid slightly behind Xun Guiying and was able to send a message to everyone in the party over the system interface.
"I'm afraid that won't be possible. After all, what's to stop you from not cooperating once your friends are free? Besides, I've received word that no one is to be permitted to leave until our boss arrives." Owl said.
Everyone was startled by the sudden message and tensed up, but they managed to keep stay calm.
"I see... Then, I only have one favor to ask of you." Luna said.
"Hm? What is it?" Owl asked.
"Stay." Luna's voice spread throughout the surroundings as a powerful wave of magic washed over Owl and the nine other players.
"I can't move!"
"What's going on, my body is stuck?!"
"What did you do?" Owl said as a gloomy and cold aura appeared around him. He was locked in place.
"Let's go!" Luna said as she and her party members ran out of the encirclement and created a good amount of distance between Owl's group and themselves.
As they were running away, Jia noticed that Owl and his group was not following after them.
"Nana, why didn't we just attack them while they couldn't move?" Jia asked.
Luna shook her head and said, "As soon as we attacked them, the effects of my voice magic would have worn off and we would have been right back where we started. It's kind of like the sleep effect except they remain awake during the skill's duration."
"I see..." Jia responded as she nodded in understanding.
Around twenty seconds later, Owl and his group were finally able to move again.
"Ridiculous! An ability that paralyzes for twenty seconds?!" Owl was infuriated. He tried to be polite, but they had taken advantage of his kindness. Now, they would have to pay the price for it.
"Do not allow them to escape! Use whatever means are necessary to stop them!" Owl ordered as the chase began!