Izroth walked over to join Guan Yu and the others. However, before Izroth could even speak a single word, Halls beat him to the jump.
"Brother, did you really run into Guan Yu in the real world?" Halls said in a rushed manner. It was as if he had been waiting to ask that question for quite some time now.
Izroth gave a simple nod in response and said, "Indeed, our paths were fortunate enough to cross." He inwardly shook his head at how excited Halls seemed to be about the topic at hand. Was there a need to be so excited just from one brief meeting with Guan Yu outside of RML?
"Ahahaha, great! That's really great! Who would've thought that the two of you would live so close to me? I'm only around one hour away from where you guys live. Now that I know that, we three must meet up! Tch, I still can't believe Guan Yu happened to be the closest out of all of us. To even be the first to meet your mother...!" Halls said as he shook his head and let out a small sigh.
Halls was eager to meet the woman behind bringing someone like Izroth into this world. From what Guan Yu had told him, Izroth gave off the same kind of air in the real world that he did within RML. The kind of aura that made one with any common sense think twice before acting against him.
"When she told me that she had a son that was around my age you should have seen my face. I didn't believe it until I actually saw it with my own two eyes! She looked so young! At least now we know where brother Izroth gets his good looks from." Guan Yu said.
As they continued their conversation, Izroth noticed that although Luna's dejected expression had disappeared, she was still quieter than usual.
At the moment, Guan Yu and Halls were locked into a conversation about some show that had come on TV as the topics the two of them discussed bounced all over the place. Izroth took that moment to approach Luna, however, he did not stop directly in front of her. Instead, he halted his steps next to her and faced the opposite direction from Luna.
Izroth spoke in a voice loud enough so that only Luna could hear and said, "Are you feeling alright?"
Whenever he appeared to be lost in deep thoughts or his mind was on the old memories from the Seven Realms, Luna would always step forward and make sure that he was alright. He felt that it would only be right that he return the favor and check to see how she was doing.
"I'm fine., it's nothing." Luna replied as she turned her head slightly to the side so that she as facing away from Izroth.
Izroth saw how Luna reacted and gave a helpless smile inwardly. Had he done something to upset her? Or, maybe it was just something personal that she would rather not talk about? Either way, it seemed that she was unwilling to discuss whatever was bothering her with him. It was possible that Zi Yi would have better luck in this department considering how close the two of them appeared to be over the past few days.
After seeing that Luna was not going to budge on the subject, Izroth gave a small nod before returning to listen in on Guan Yu and Halls' conversation. Even though he had no idea what TV show they were talking about, the overexaggerated gestures they performed made it amusing to observe.
Luna felt even more dejected than before now! Izroth was being thoughtful and approached her, however, she practically turned him away and ignored him! What if he started to despise her because of her seemingly cold shoulder treatment? She did not want him to misunderstand, but she herself had no idea what had gotten into her.
She never acted this way and simply felt a little confused about everything. All she had to do was tell him the truth, but it was as if the words were stuck in her vocal cords and replaced by something entirely different. She released a long sigh and tried to organize her thoughts.
"What's wrong with me...?" Luna muttered to herself softly. She felt as if butterflies were floating around inside of her stomach. It was a startling and almost frightening experience for someone like Luna who was not used to such a thing. However, she simply tried her best to suppress it and regain her calm composure.
A few moments later, Zi Yi finally arrived at the Mystical Realm Palace. It looked as if she had rushed over in a hurry.
"I lost track of time and didn't realize it was already time." Zi Yi said as she greeted everyone.
"I'm surprised you were able to pull away from those books in the palace library." Guan Yu said with a grin on his face. Earlier in the day, he had offered Zi Yi a spot in his party, however, all she replied to him with was "Busy. Later." almost immediately after he sent his message.
"You're right on time. Now that you're here, we only have one more person to go before we take our leave." Izroth said.
"I guess that means we have a bit more time to kill." Zi Yi said as she looked over at the bustling Mystical Realm Palace. She still could not believe that Izroth had something like this hidden up his sleeve. The first player owned shop in RML! How fortunate!
However, Zi Yi only admired her good designing taste for a brief moment. It did not take long for her to realize that Luna was troubled by something. Although the two of them had not known each other that long, Zi Yi felt a close connection to Luna. Therefore, it was only natural that she be concerned about her well-being.
She went over towards Luna and a few moments later the two of them created a fair amount of distance between Izroth, Guan Yu, and Halls as they spoke to one another.
"Hm? Now that you mention one more person, who are we waiting for?" Halls asked curiously.
"Aren't we waiting for that magic freak?" Guan Yu said as if it were a matter of fact.
Izroth, however, surprisingly shook his head and said, "No, Valentine won't be able to join us. Something important came up at the last moment, therefore, I had to call in someone else to tag along."
Guan Yu and Halls were shocked. Something important? To miss out willingly on a once in a lifetime opportunity like an SSS-ranked quest, it must have been a matter of great importance!
"If it's not him, then who is it?" Halls questioned with a baffled expression on his face. To say that he knew all of Izroth's friends would not be an overstatement considering that the two of them had met at the very beginning of the game. Therefore, he knew that there were only a handful of people who Izroth would invite along to join their party.
"Well, it's-" However, just as Izroth was about to inform Halls and Guan Yu of who would be joining them, the person in question had just come through the door.
"My, isn't this a pleasant surprise? Imagine my shock when I received your message just as I was ready to log off. The fact that I wasn't your first choice remains a source of heartache for me." A lovely voice drifted throughout the surroundings which caused a few of the male players looking at the pills in the shop to instantly turn their head to see who the source of that voice belonged to.
"It's not what I originally had planned, however, we need a skilled magic caster for the place we're headed to. You could not have had better timing, Mariposa." Izroth said.
"You mean that-"
"Yes, she will be the one joining us on our quest this time." Izroth stated before Halls could even finish his sentence.
"Oh? Could it be that you two do not welcome me?" Mariposa spoke in a coy fashion as she brought her hand up to cover her mouth and released a delicate giggle from between her lips.
"No, of course, you're always welcome to join us!" Guan Yu hurriedly said.
"Indeed! Who would dare say that you can't? If brother Izroth has invited you then we have no problems! None!" Halls said in a rushed manner.
"I feel like I'm part of your group already with such a kind welcome." Mariposa said as a smile blossomed on her lips.
Guan Yu and Halls had fallen right into Mariposa's playful trap and Izroth could only shake his head at the sight of it. It was obvious that Mariposa had grabbed those two by their noses and already had them wrapped around her finger with only a few gestures and words. What a frightening skill!
"You- What are you doing here?" Zi Yi said in a surprised tone of voice. She had only gone to talk with Luna for a few minutes in private, however, when she and Luna had made their way back over towards them, she was greeted by the view of her elder sister.
The good news was that Luna no longer appeared dejected. She seemed to be lost in her thoughts, however, one could tell that she was better off than before. But, the bad news was that Zi Yi had a bad feeling about this situation.
"It's good to see you as well, my adorable little sister." Mariposa said while bypassing Zi Yi's question altogether.
Zi Yi stared over in Izroth's direction for an explanation. Usually around this time of day, Mariposa was offline dealing with some other matters in the real world, however, her coming here at the same time that they were about to leave off on an SSS-ranked quest was too much to be brushed off as simple coincidence.
Izroth explained to everyone the turn of events that led up to his decision. Originally, he invited Valentine to tag along with them. After all, when it came to magic and how it worked within RML, Valentine could probably be considered one of the most knowledgable, if not the most knowledgable player.
However, before logging off last night Valentine said that he would not be able to make it due to an important situation that had come up. Therefore, Izroth was left with one open spot for the quest.
At the moment, his current party had enough physical and melee players. In order to keep things balanced out, Izroth knew that they were in need of a magic caster. Needless to say, Izroth did not personally know many magic casters.
In fact, Valentine and Mariposa were the only two magic casters on his friendslist! Of course, this was not including Luna who was a healer and Ying Yue whose class was still unknown to him. Ying Yue was most likely some kind of magic caster, however, that was mere speculation.
In the end, one thing led to another and Izroth ended up inviting Mariposa to join their expedition. That's why she was in such a good mood today when Izroth had messaged her. Who would not be after receiving an invitation to join an SSS-ranked quest? This was even more so when she found out that one of the rewards was a piece of epic quality equipment, as well as, three whole levels!
She would have been a fool if she allowed herself to miss out on this. Therefore, Mariposa rescheduled her plans for today just so that she was able to participate in this quest.
After Izroth finished explaining, everyone finally understood. However, in the end, the quest belonged to Izroth, therefore, he could invite anyone he wanted without question or explaining. The fact that he was willing to tell them about it could be seen as him showing them some consideration.
It was definitely something everyone appreciated. Even Zi Yi, although reluctantly, accepted the logic behind Izroth's decision. While she would never openly admit it, Zi Yi knew that her sister was one of the best magic casters they would be able to find.
Now that everything was in order and everyone was on the same page, it was finally time to head out towards the unnamed location on the Realm Chart.
"Let's go." Izroth said as he led the way. However, unknown to Izroth and the others, their challenge had already begun from the moment Zi Yi pieced things together yesterday.