"Then, it seems as though neither of us has the luxury of waiting around here." Mariposa then scanned Izroth and his party one last time before settling her sight on Zi Yi.
"Please take good care of my adorable little sister." Mariposa bowed elegantly towards their group before entering into the palace with the other five women following behind her.
Zi Yi scowled, "I can take care of myself!"
Mariposa giggled and waved towards Zi Yi as the palace gates closed. It only took a few moments for Mariposa and her party to disappear into the depths of the palace.
"Zi Yi... Your sister is-" Guan Yu was getting to speak, however, Zi Yi gave him a death glare that made him have second thoughts about what he wanted to say. "Never mind." Guan Yu avoided direct eye contact with her.
"Your relationship with that you have with your sister is a very close one." Luna said. It was obvious to anyone who observed them that Mariposa cared deeply for her little sister, Zi Yi.
"Are you sure you were watching the same thing as us?" Halls was dumbfounded. He did not see any sign of closeness between either of them. In fact, Zi Yi even seemed terrified of her sister.
"Okay, that's enough about my sister!" Zi Yi snapped. After doing so, no one bothered to bring up Mariposa again.
Izroth could hear the footsteps of someone approaching them. However, footstep was a bit of an inaccurate statement. It was similar to a light tapping noise that was carried along by the wind. The sound was difficult to pick up unless one was to intentionally search for it.
'Is that some kind of skill?'
Izroth turned towards the direction the footsteps were resonating from and saw a figure in loose and uniquely designed dark blue scholar robes. The figure wore a wizard-style hat on their head that was slanted and covered the top left part of their face.
"It's been quite a while, Zi Yi. It seems as though I just missed something very entertaining." A soft and delicate voice flowed from between the lips of the individual.
Luna, Guan Yu, and Halls all turned their attention towards the new incomer.
Izroth furrowed his brows as he felt something was off about this person.
'One should not be allowed to alter their character appearances to such an extent.'
Guan Yu and Halls were pleasantly surprised. It seemed that today was their lucky day as they kept running into beauties after beauties.
"Zi Yi, you have so many beautiful friends!" Guan Yu said with a bit of envy behind his voice.
Halls nodded in agreement with Guan Yu and let out a sigh, "Brother, we can only look from the earth as the mist drifts by in the heavens."
Zi Yi's expression darkened when she heard what Guan Yu and Halls said. "You two-" She suddenly stopped herself as she thought back to all the moments Guan Yu and Halls had teased her. Her expression straightened out. "I see you two have a unique taste." A delightful smile appeared on Zi Yi's face.
Luna noticed Zi Yi's strange behavior and it made her piece together a few things. When she glanced over at Izroth and saw him standing there with his brows furrowed, she covered her mouth with one hand in surprise. "It can't be that-"
Zi Yi gave Luna a meaningful look. She did not want her one moment of victory to be ruined on such short notice.
Luna closed her mouth and could only smile on helplessly. Luna felt a little bad for Guan Yu and Halls, however, when she saw that pleading look in Zi Yi's eyes, she yielded to her request.
"Beautiful...?" The player who approached them let out a soft laugh. "It has been a while since a man has called me that directly to my face."
"You're being too modest." Guan Yu obviously did not believe them.
The player before Izroth and his party had black hair that stopped halfway down their back. One was unable to see the color of their left eye, however, their right eye was sapphire in color and accompanied by a pair of lovely flowing eyelashes.
When Zi Yi had seen that Guan Yu was fawning all over the person before them, she finally spoke up before he reached a point of no return. "You're late, Valentine."
"I had a few important matters to take care of since it was a last-second request. Though, I regret not being able to say hello to your sister, Zi Yi. How is Mariposa doing?" Valentine asked.
Zi Yi scoffed, "She is being unreasonable and coddling as always."
Izroth was the current party leader and so he invited Valentine to the party and shared the SS-ranked quest with them. Otherwise, they would be unable to enter into the Chaotic Dogma Realm.
Valentine was startled when they received the SS-ranked quest. "So it is true... How exhilarating." This was the first time Valentine had seen an SS-ranked quest and the rewards, as well as, the failure was not small at all.
"Any friends of Zi Yi is a friend of mine. I'll be in your care." Valentine gave a polite bow.
"Alright, since everyone is here then we should not waste any more time and head inside." Izroth said as he stepped towards the palace gates.
Guan Yu and Halls were confused, weren't they still waiting for Zi Yi's friend to show up?
"Are we taking Valentine with us instead of Zi Yi's other friend?" Halls asked curiously. Of course, he had no objection to the matter.
Luna shook her head, "We have already met him and we are still taking him with us. There's no longer any reason for us to wait around here any longer with the portal being on the verge of opening."
Halls and Guan Yu still did not understand. They did not remember meeting any men in front of the palace, only women. When could they have possibly met Zi Yi's friend?
"I should have properly introduced you. Valentine, this is Izroth, Luna, Guan Yu, and Halls." Zi Yi said as she introduced everyone. "Everyone, this is Valentine. He's the magic caster that I told you about previously. Zi Yi was in an unusually happy mood when those words left her mouth.
Guan Yu and Halls were strangely quiet at the moment. They were both extremely gloomy, it appeared that they had underestimated Zi Yi's level of cruelty! How could a guy be so pretty that even other women would be jealous of their looks?! This was definitely something Zi Yi would hold over their heads for a long time.
Guan Yu was much worse off than Halls since he had indirectly called Valentine beautiful! He was incredibly dispirited as he and the party walked deeper into the palace.
Since Izroth had received Gear's imprint, he and those within his party were not stopped by the guards. The coordinates for the location of the portal was clearly marked and so it would not be difficult to find.
'Gear said that he would meet up with us before our entrance into the portal.'
There was something Izroth wanted to clarify with Gear after he had run into Mariposa at the gates. It could potentially be a matter of life and death when they entered into the Chaotic Dogma Realm, therefore, it was best to receive as much information as possible.
Around ten minutes later, the group had arrived in front of a gigantic bolted metallic-alloy based door. There were multiple locking mechanisms and a powerful wave of magical energy was constantly being emitted from the other side of the door.
Izroth and his party had traveled into the deepest part of the palace. They discovered that the palace itself was actually built over the portal that was heavily guarded. They had met more than twenty Crimson Corps Guards on their way to the portal! One had to know that there was only one hundred Crimson Corps Guards in total.
"What a sophisticated and complex magic structure..." Valentine muttered to himself as he examined the door.
Izroth was fairly surprised. Although he did not know much about magic within RML, he had studied various languages and matrices. He had not yet received enough information about magical symbols and so he was still unable to fully grasp it. "You can understand the magic symbols?"
Valentine nodded, "It's a bit tricky when the magic print is moving so rapidly throughout the numerous set of matrices. If I had more time to study it I could..." Valentine then went on and on about the various types of magical structures and matrices as he muttered to himself from time to time.
As he examined the magic symbols placed upon the door, he became more and more lost in his thoughts. "Amazing...! This is something that we may not see again for a long time...!"
Valentine's breathing was getting heavier and more rapid as drool slid down the side of his mouth from all the excitement. He pushed the side of his face up against the door and began to rub his cheek on it as if it were something incredibly precious and priceless in value.
"Okay, that's enough out of you! Have you forgot what we came here for?" Zi Yi reminded Valentine. She was the one who personally invited him. It was already bad enough that they ran into Mariposa and now Valentine had revealed some of his true colors.
If this kept up, everyone would believe she was only associated with weirdos!
Valentine pouted, "But, but the magic structures..." Valentine looked incredibly pitiful and reluctant.
"Have you forgotten why I invited you in the first place?" Zi Yi glared at Valentine.
Valentine wanted to protest, but when he saw the glare Zi Yi gave him, he silently held his head in defeat.
Zi Yi let out a sigh. Whenever it came to anything having to do with magic, it was like a switch flipped on and Valentine turned into an entirely different person. While he may appear calm and collect at times, that was not the true Valentine at all! He was actually an obsessive magic freak!
As they were speaking, a light suddenly pierced into Izroth's forehead.
Everyone, except for Valentine and Izroth, was shocked and instantly became alert. However, when they noticed that Izroth's HP remained unchanged, they were baffled.
"It appears as though this door was made to search for something in anyone who approaches it. Think of it as a highly sophisticated security measure." Valentine explained.
'It must be searching the for the imprint that Gear left behind.'
The light was indeed harmless and only lasted for a few seconds. Afterward, the locking mechanisms on the door began to shift and change. The magic structure that was laid out began to glow as the huge door slowly opened.
As soon as the door opened, a strong flood of magical energy nearly blew everyone back. However, they were all able to stand their ground.
"What incredibly concentrated magical energy...!" Valentine had a shocked expression on his face. He had never observed such a massive source of concentrated magical energy up close before.
At the very center of the room was a swirling vortex of visible energy that converged onto a single point. That vortex of energy appeared to be the source of the phenomenon Izroth and his party just experienced.
"It seems the last group has arrived. Good, the portal will be opening shortly and there are still a few things to go over." A voice echoed from the platform that was positioned behind the portal.
Izroth recognized two of the six people currently standing on the platform. One of them was Terminus and the other person was Gear. As for the other four people, Izroth had no clue as to who they were.
Izroth's eyes then drifted to the players that stood below the platform. There were a total of five parties and four of them had six players. However, one party only had three players. Almost all of them turned around to size up Izroth and his party.
Mariposa and the five women she came in with made up one group. Another group also caught Izroth's attention.
The group with only three players could not be accurately perceived by Izroth. Also, one of the players who were among the group of three stood out to Izroth, as he had crossed paths with that person once before on his way to the Sea Palace Graveyard.
A pair of eyes with lemniscate pupils had been locked onto Izroth ever since he first arrived inside of the room.
Izroth narrowed his eyes when he felt that powerful gaze locked onto him.