With one last hit to the hard red stone, Fanny destroys the tower, its glow fading as it crumbles apart. The pieces of ruby fall to the ground and disappear into thin air after a moment.
Fanny hums and places her hands on her hips, "I haven't heard the announcer's voice for a while now," Fanny says to Minotaur who was looking up at the sky.
"Is it just me, or does the sky seem clearer for some reason?" Minotaur nudges the assassin by her arm, pointing up. Fanny follows his finger and uses her hand to give shade to her eyes as she faces upward.
"Hm, yeah," Fanny nods agreeably, "that's strange."
"The map disappeared too," Minotaur furrows his eyebrows. "Something's happening, and we don't know about it."
"Where were they earlier?"
"I was going to follow Gusion to the bottom lane, but I separated from him instead," Minotaur informs, "He told me to check on you, if you were okay. Did something happen between you two?"
"Ugh, seriously," Fanny grumbles, obviously ticked off. "Nevermind that, let's head to the bottom lane quickly. They must've noticed the change, too."
Whilst Fanny runs to position herself as to avoid hitting any walls, the beast recalls for a shorter route to the bottom lane, "I think something bad happened, get there as fast as you can, Fanny."
Fanny nods, watching the rays of golden light consume Minotaur's body. "I'll see you there," Fanny pulls the trigger of her gear. The grapple at the end of the cable roots itself into the wall, and with another cable, she flies past mid lane. Two, four, six, the connected distribution of steel cables make an easy eight cable combo for Fanny.
She lands on the ground with a light thump, dust flying around from the impact of her landing.
Claude sulks more when he hears her feet hit the ground, feeling the breeze that was brought to their direction by Fanny's flight. He killed her brother. Yes, Claude had killed Fanny's brother, and this time, the announcer's voice wasn't there to disclose his death.
"Oh, hey!" Fanny runs up to the boy who sat on the ground next to the crab. She scans the place, but sees no other living being except for him, "Where are the others? And what's with the haggard look, Claude?"
The marksman ignores Fanny, too ashamed and guilty to even look at her. He keeps his head low, bloodied hands covering his face. Claude asks himself how, how did the events from earlier happen? How did his bullet magically penetrate Tigreal's armor like that? It had never happened before, because his bullets had always disappeared after leaving a holographic red spot on the place his enemy was shot at.
But most importantly, why WAS this happening? It was the first time each and every one of them saw actual blood, and it was absolutely a traumatic experience. Everything was fine during the first minutes of the match, so for their world's way of functioning to suddenly shift like that was wrecking everyone's mind.
The more that Claude thought about it, the more his breathing became uneven. Fanny notices this and quickly kneels beside him, giving gentle pats on his back comfortingly. "Are you okay? Claude! What's wrong?"
"F-Fanny," he chokes out, trembling in fear and confusion, "I-I-I'm so s-sorry."
"Shh, it's okay," Fanny hushes him, her heart breaking to see the usually bubbly man to look so lost and scared. "Tell me, Claude, what happened to you? And what's wrong with your hands?"
Claude's eyes twitch at the sight of his hands, his hands that were once soaked in a man's blood not too long ago. "Tigreal, h-he—"
"He? He what?" Fanny questions impatiently, wanting to know what her brother was involved in to cause Claude's behaviour.
"I killed him."
Fanny's amber eyes narrow, searching Claude's face for any glint of mischief, "What do you mean? It's normal to kill each other in battle, Claude. I really can't understand you."
Fanny's naivety from the situation was something that made Claude's head pound more. The pain was becoming too unbearable for Claude, as if there was something invisible bashing his head in. Claude shouted out in pain, hands shooting up to cover his ears in desperation to stop the aching and ringing inside his head.
Realising that the man was in no condition to joke around, she stood up and shot out a cable from her gear, and a second one after retrieving the other to shoot out the third. The sound of the grapples digging into the walls made Claude feel worse, but Fanny didn't care. She needed to know what happened from someone sane enough to give her clear details.
× × × × ×
Minotaur spawned at the fountain, eyes widening at the sight of his three injured teammates. He sped towards them, eyebrows raised at the two supports who were watching them.
"How did the two of you get get here?" Minotaur interrogated, grabbing Estes' arm roughly, "What happened to them?"
Estes sent Minotaur a blank look, pulling his arm from his grasp, "Don't disturb me, I can't heal them like I could before," Estes began, "Hayabusa and Diggie informed us, and Kaja and Rafaela took us here. As for what happened to them, Kaja is with Grock and the others trying to find out what occurred during the clash."
"Rafaela went back down to inform the other heroes of what had happened here," Angela continued, "There was a storm earlier, thick dark clouds covered the sky, but then they suddenly parted revealing the Western Expanse floating in the sky."
Golden threads flew from the skein behind Angela's back and wrapped themselves around Gusion's wound. Light emitted from the magical strings, and Angela's hands dropped on her lap, letting the threads settle on Gusion's shoulder.
"What do you mean floating in the sky? How did this arena even appear above the land? When?" Minotaur couldn't stop the questions from coming out. Not only was he confused, but he felt a small pang of fear shake his heart. This wouldn't have happened for no reason. Something must have befallen to cause such unexplainable events.
"Miya saw it first when she was heading back from the Moon Temple, and she said she immediately went to the Moniyan Empire to inform Tigreal, but he wasn't there. ." Angela explained, "After a few minutes, Kaja, Rafaela, and Diggie came to get me, and king Estes who was in his homeland."
"We would've arrived too late if it weren't for Diggie's Time Nest," Angela spoke without ever stopping to breathe, "But he's back at Antoinerei, resting, he'd messed with time too much that it had affected his body."
"WHERE IS HE?!"
Estes ignored the sudden yell and kept his head facing his scroll, reading the Code of Moonlight in attempts to heal Tigreal. But the other two stoppef talking to look for the owner of the voice.
Fanny panted, for she'd used up too much energy without the blue buff. A gasp escaped her lips, seeing the wounds on Kagura's body. She rushed towards her, and on her way, she saw Tigreal on the floor of the fountain, stripped from his armor, with a hole in his chest that spewed with red liquid.
She gulped, taking in the devastating image of her lifeless brother.
"I can't," with a load exhale, Estes stood up, "I can't heal a dead man."
Fanny blinked and set her gaze on the elf, "W-What do you mean?"
"I can heal a person, but I can't resurrect them," said Estes, nonchalantly, "I know someone that can help, but I don't think he'd be willing to help the Empire, much less the leader of the Imperial Knights."
"What are you saying?" Fanny fumed, denying the obvious truth, "Tigreal can't be dead! We can't die here, in this world! And even if we could, why would he be the one to leave first?!"
Estes pressed his lips together in a thin line. Minotaur caught Fanny who fell, bursting into tears. While rubbing her shoulder for consolation, he looked up at the support. "Could you tell me who this person is?"
Estes hesitated, "I do not think that it would be a good idea to meet him, and with a person from the Chivalric Order, too."
"Just tell me," Minotaur urged him, "We'll see if it's okay to or not, just let me know who the man is."
Letting out a sigh, Estes walked past the two and kneeled beside Kagura, "Do you remember the name, Faramis?"
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