The White Tower, a tall white structure that extends all the way to the heavens, is the center of authority and order in all of Aries. Within the floors underneath the ground, prison cells exist to temporarily keep suspected rule breakers. It wasn't such a terrible place, but it wasn't a great place to be in either.
I never thought I'd ever end up in here, Tank thought as he sat miserably inside his cell.
The guildmaster of the Knights Alliance, known to be a defender of justice and peace, was suspected of using illegal hacking methods to score a win during the preliminary round of the guild war event.
It wasn't long before a familiar figure appeared on the other side of the door. The person inserted a key into the lock and turned it. Once the cell door was fully open, the mysterious visitor's identity was revealed.
"Lyngvi!" Tank immediately recognized his second-in-command and stood up.
"You're free to go now, Tank," Lyngvi said with a smile. "Your name is cleared."
"It's about time! I thought they'd never let me out. Did they catch the real culprit?" Tank stepped out of the cell. He was relieved to regain his freedom.
Lyngvi shook his head. "Unfortunately, the real culprit is still on the loose."
"I see." Tank's face turned serious.
"Shall we go back to headquarters? The other members have been worried about you. They've been wanting to hear your side of the story."
"Yeah. Let's go. I'd like to leave this place as soon as possible."
Outside the White Tower, Amelie, Anna, and Luna sat on one of the benches that faced the endless sea. They were all in disguise: sunglasses, hats, and scarves. It was Amelie's idea. However, anyone who passed by them noticed them immediately and thought they were strange.
"It's time to commence Operation: Get More Info on Tank! Or OGMIT for short." Amelie said cheerfully.
"Shh! You're too loud!" Anna placed a finger over her mouth.
Luna adjusted her hat. "Amelie, are you sure these disguises are working? I think we're attracting more attention than usual."
"It's Chris! And it should work! I saw them use these on TV."
"I don't think everything you see on TV can be applied to real life."
Amelie puffed her cheeks. "Well, do you have a better idea?"
"What are you three up to?" Magnus suddenly stood behind them and asked.
"Magnus!" The three were startled. None of them noticed Magnus' presence at all.
The mage folded his arms and judged them with his eyes. "You all look very suspicious."
"We're just worried about Tank, so we came here. What are you doing here, Magnus?" Luna asked.
"Meeting a friend," Magnus replied. Once he saw Lyngvi exit the building with Tank, he unfolded his arms. "And there he is."
"Tank! You're out!" Luna took off her sunglasses and ran to the guildmaster. Amelie and Anna followed behind her.
Tank appeared happy to see Luna. He managed a smile. "Yeah. They cleared my name. Thank goodness. I hate being falsely accused."
Luna was relieved to hear the news.
"How did that happen?" Magnus asked. "Your weapons were tampered with?"
"I don't know. All I know is that my name is cleared. I know nothing about what they found out in the investigation."
Lyngvi replied for Tank like a manager, "They've determined that his equipment have been tampered with, but he isn't completely off the hook yet. They still haven't figured out who the culprit is. Tank is still one of their key suspects in this incident."
"So someone wanted to frame me?" Tank asked.
"But why Tank though?" Magnus asked. "Is there someone out there who despises him that much?"
"We don't know their motive yet. We will have to wait for further information from the investigation team. For now, we'd better clear things up with our guild." Lyngvi waved at Magnus and the girls. "We'll be holding a guild meeting, so we need to get going. Take care, ladies!"
"Be careful out there. Things are starting to look a bit dangerous," Tank warned them before leaving with Lyngvi. The rest watched the two crusaders teleport away to their guild headquarters.
"It sucks to be in the dark, huh?" Magnus shrugged. "Too bad they didn't allow the Knights Alliance to join the ball. Although Tank's name was cleared, they're still keeping a close eye on the guild."
"The ball?" Amelie asked.
"Yeah. It was announced this morning. The last part of the second preliminary round is postponed at an unknown date, but they decided not to move the ball. The guilds who are still qualified are allowed to join."
"Ball? Gowns? Pretty girls in gowns?" Anna's imagination was going crazy. "Miss Yaya in a gown!"
"Who is this girl again?" Magnus pointed at the fangirl bard.
"That's Anna," Luna replied.
"She's a strange girl."
"She's always like that. You'll get used to it."
Magnus looked around. "Where's Lyria?"
"She's busy selling pumpkins," Luna replied.
He shrugged. "Why am I not surprised?"
The girls started talking excitedly about the ball. Magnus stood awkwardly for a moment, unable to relate with their discussion of dresses and makeup. Eventually, he decided to just leave them alone. "I have some guildmaster things to take care of. See you!"
"Looks like we didn't have to do anything to prove his innocence," Anna said once Magnus was out of sight.
Luna was still deep in thought. "Someone who despises him that much..." Suddenly, her eyes widened. "Is it possible..." Her voice trailed away.
"Did a person come to mind?" Amelie asked.
"Let's talk at the headquarters."
When they returned to the guild headquarters, Lyria was at the kitchen table drinking tea and reading one of her favorite historical romance novels. Astrid sat across her, checking the market prices of loot through her menu tablet. Her right hand was jumping from one calculator button to another.
"Where have you ladies been? I haven't seen you all morning," Lyria asked when the three entered through the front door.
Luna replied, "We were at the White Tower. Tank was just released from custody. Apparently, someone tampered with his equipment."
"Did they find out who?"
Luna shook her head. "They still don't know."
Astrid put her menu tablet down. "Tampered equipment? In order to do that, they would have to acquire the equipment's unique ID code by using a modified version of the built-in analysis tool on the menu tablet. It could take about an hour to sort through the long lines of code."
"So the suspect is someone who had enough time alone with the equipment to pull off something like that?" Lyria asked.
"Yes. However, it could have been done days before, especially if this whole event was carefully planned. It will be hard to pinpoint a single person."
Luna cleared her throat. Everyone looked at her. "I don't have any solid basis for my accusation, but do you think that maybe Christina had something to do with this?"
Lyria nodded. "It's quite possible."
"If what Sphinx said is true, that she really did ally with the hackers, it's possible that she was involved in this to get revenge on Luna," said Astrid.
Amelie was about to mouth the words "But Twinnie would never do that!" but she stopped herself at the last minute.
Anna was beginning to feel uneasy about the serious mood. "At least Tank is out of prison. For now, we can rest easy until new information comes to us." She flashed her menu tablet with the ball invitation. "Have you checked your mail yet? It looks like they didn't postpone the ball."
"Glad there's still some good news." Lyria was excited for the ball.
"I will make you gorgeous dresses! Shall we head to the marketplace to select cloth?" Anna was jumping up and down excitedly.
"Why not? We could use a break from all the tension this hacking incident is causing." Astrid kept her belongings and stood up from her seat.
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