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92 Mariposa

 As Izroth and his party walked towards the palace gates, he suddenly received an alert from the system that someone had sent him a message.

〈System Alert: Player Metronome has sent you a message, "I've finished what you've asked for, though it was far from being a walk in the park. Next time, how about some sort of heads up so that I'm better prepared? Do you want me to bring it to you personally?"〉

Izroth halted his steps as he read over Metronome's message. To be completely honest, he knew that it was a longshot that Metronome would be able to accomplish the task which he bestowed upon him.

Everyone was confused as to why Izroth stopped moving. The portal should be opening very soon and they still had to meet with the magic caster that Zi Yi mentioned.

To Izroth's surprise, Metronome seemed to be more capable than he originally anticipated. But, he would not jump to any conclusions until he reviewed the final products. He sent a swift reply to Metronome.

"I have to take care of one last task before we enter into the palace." Izroth said.

"The portal may open at any given time. Haven't you already completed all of your preparations?" Zi Yi asked. Izroth had told them to make the proper arrangements for the journey and so it would be quite difficult to believe that he did not do the same.

"I've, of course, prepared everything needed. Just think of this as an extra bit of insurance for ourselves." Izroth reassured them. "It should not take too long. Since it's on our way to the palace, we can all make the trip together."

After he finished speaking, Izroth continued walking towards the palace, however, there was a slight deviation from his original path. He veered off a little, but it was still not enough to lose more than a few minutes on their trip.

Izroth and his party soon arrived at an average looking building. There was a player waiting outside by the door, just as Izroth had instructed him beforehand.

The person that stood by the building was Metronome and when he saw Izroth approaching his location with multiple people, he was a bit surprised. But when he remembered that Izroth had partied up back when he cleared the first world boss, his surprise quickly subsided.

Metronome swept his gaze over Izroth's party and saw that it was a decent enough balanced party. However, they obviously had no magic caster besides that healer. After examining them for a brief moment, he returned to his professional attitude.

"I assume there were no issues or troubles you ran into?" Izroth asked.

Metronome shook his head, "Quite the contrary, there were endless issues and troubles. However, I still managed to get the job done somehow." Metronome removed two items from his inventory.

Both of the items contained some form of liquid in a thin glass-like beaker. One of the liquids were deep red in color and gave off a slightly refreshing air. The other liquid was actually transparent and resembled plain water. However, there were tiny little sparkles floating throughout the liquid.

"These are the two items you've requested. Of course, I also have the rest of the batch and will deliver it once you've confirmed that the quality of the goods meets with your standards." Metronome handed the two items over to Izroth for him to examine.

'These are...'

Izroth was astounded when he read over the items and within a matter of seconds he removed twenty gold coins from his inventory and handed them over directly to Metronome.

"These are more than satisfactory. I did not expect you to use that item on this batch." Izroth added.

Metronome removed the remaining items from his inventory and traded them over to Izroth. "Just a bit of good fortune in being able to obtain it. Besides, what are friends for?" Metronome knew that such a small display would eventually pay off in the near future.

Also, he received a total of 40 gold coins during the course of the entire business transaction. He had made a considerable profit and suffered no loss in the end.

Izroth understood Metronome's intentions and saw that he was earnestly trying to form a positive business relationship with him. Since Metronome could accomplish this much in such a short period of time, Izroth's impression of him had risen.

After the items were successfully transferred into his inventory, Izroth turned and signaled for the others that it was time to resume their trip towards the palace gates.

"Our paths will soon cross again." Izroth gave a slight nod to Metronome, as he and his party walked away with hastened steps.

When they left, Metronome let out a deep sigh of relief. "At least every member of that party had a rare item equipped. They're obviously not a typical party... What exactly are they preparing to do?" He was extremely curious as to what Izroth needed with such a strong party and that uniquely requested potion.

...

Within a few moments, Izroth and his party reached the entrance to the palace.

Everyone stared in amazement at the grand and majestic palace before them. There were two Crimson Corps Guards standing at each side of the gate that led into the Amaharpe palace.

The one who was most excited about this was Zi Yi. This may be her only chance to discover how to access the palace library. How could she not be excited?

This was the place that they were supposed to meet the magic caster at, however, there was not a single player in sight. After all, one could not simply stroll into the palace and so there was no reason for players to visit it or be near it unless they had a specific purpose.

Izroth furrowed his brows when he realized that there was no one waiting for them when they arrived. He glanced over towards Zi Yi in search of an explanation.

The others were also confused when they noticed that no one else was around.

"The portal is opening soon and he's not even here yet?" Guan Yu frowned. He should have had plenty of time to arrive before them, as Zi Yi sent out the message ahead of time for them to rendezvous at this location.

"He'll be here." Zi Yi said reassuringly.

"Ah, Zi Yi? Is that you?" A woman's voice sounded out. However, the voice was not coming from one specific direction, it came from all around them.

The space before the palace gates distorted which put the two Crimson Corps Guards on high alert!

When Zi Yi heard that voice, she immediately felt shivers run down her spine. What was that person doing here?! Zi Yi instantly positioned herself slightly behind Izroth. This was the one person she wanted to avoid at all cost while within RML.

Izroth was surprised by Zi Yi's sudden timid nature. The others were also shocked, however, if someone was there to cause Zi Yi trouble, then they would not hesitate to fight alongside her.

A spatial rift split open and six female players stepped out.

When Guan Yu and Halls saw the six female players, their facial expressions noticeably changed. These women... Were all beauties! In RML, you could not alter your character's appearance in any major way, and so these women were all beauties in the real world as well.

This was even more so for the woman at the front of the group. She had long midnight black hair that flowed down to her lower back, beautiful and enchanting emerald green eyes, curves in all the right places, and her voice carried a naturally pleasant tone. For some reason, she seemed extremely familiar to them.

Izroth, however, was more interested in the spatial technique that was performed. It was similar to the one that Terminus used to travel, however, it was not nearly as powerful and complex. But, it was obviously at the very least, an A-ranked skill.

As for the beauties, Izroth had seen plenty of transcended beauties that kingdoms would actually go to war over. While they were beautiful in their own right, they still could not compare to those peak cultivation goddesses who held onto no impurities.

When the guards realized something about the woman, they ignored her and were no longer on high alert.

"Are you following me around again, Mariposa?!" Zi Yi glared at the woman leading the group of beauties, however, she made sure to maintain her distance.

Mariposa giggled and was amused by Zi Yi's reaction. She then swept her gaze over everyone around Zi Yi. Her gaze stopped on Izroth, the individual that Zi Yi was clearly hiding behind. There was a hint of displeasure in her eyes, but it quickly disappeared.

"I have not followed you, but this must be fate. You rejected my invitation so many times and now we meet here. Is this what you meant by having other plans?" Mariposa's gaze never left Izroth.

Izroth remained standing there unaffected, with a carefree expression on his face.

Mariposa was inwardly surprised by Izroth's reaction. Usually, men would be fawning all over them and yet, there was not a single hint of lust within Izroth's eyes.

As for the other two men...

Guan Yu and Halls' eyes scanned over Mariposa, as well as, the women who accompanied her. The two of them obviously did not have Izroth's self-control and eyes lit up when they saw the women exit from the spatial rift.

"I had already made other plans before you asked. Besides, you have plenty of other people to fill an empty slot with. Also, you have bad intentions!" Zi Yi said.

Mariposa sighed, "Ah, Zi Yi... You're going to break your big sis frail and delicate heart. What bad intentions could I possibly have towards my cute and adorable little sister?" Mariposa's eyes were filled with affection as she looked over at Zi Yi.

Big sis? That was why she looked so familiar! She was actually Zi Yi's older sister!

'Oh?'

Izroth could tell that their relationship was... Strange to say the least. There was no hatred or strong resentment that he could sense. However, there was a certain level of caution and fear that Zi Yi expressed.

Mariposa then set her attention on Luna. "Aren't you going to introduce me to your friends?" She gave a lovely smile and spoke in quite the elegant manner.

Luna gave a small respectful nod to Mariposa as a friendly gesture, which she soon returned in a polite manner.

"Who I hang around is none of your concern!" Zi Yi quickly responded.

Everyone was a little confused as to why Zi Yi was behaving in such an irrational way. The Zi Yi they knew would be calm and calculative under most circumstances. This, however, was another side of her entirely. Besides, her sister seemed like a friendly person.

"You...! Our lady is just showing that she cares for you. How could you be so ungrateful?!" One of the women who was silently standing behind Mariposa could not take it anymore and spoke her mind.

"Who gave you permission to talk that way to my cute little sister?!" Mariposa's eyes became ice cold as she glared at the woman who just spoke. One could feel a level of anger that was unnatural over such a small comment.

The woman who spoke was immediately frightened and bowed her head. "Forgive me, my lady! I spoke without thinking!" It was obvious that she was terrified of Mariposa when she became that way.

Guan Yu and Halls took in a deep breath of cold air. It's a good thing they did not tease Zi Yi while Mariposa was around. How frightening!

However, Mariposa's icy stare did not leave the woman and only became more intense. "Forgive...? You think that-"

When Zi Yi saw what was taking place, she stepped out from behind Izroth. "Why are you here big sis?!"

When Mariposa heard Zi Yi call her big sis, she instantly forgot all about what that woman just said. She turned all of her attention towards Zi Yi. "You just called me big sis..." Mariposa's mood improved considerably as she had pushed the offense of that woman to the back of her mind.

"If you must know, I am here for an important quest. One of great consequence if I should fail. But, the rewards are too good to pass up. That's why I wanted you to come along with me. This is not an opportunity that comes often." Mariposa was still trying to convince Zi Yi to tag along with her.

Zi Yi shook her head, "I'm also on a quest with the same set of conditions. Also, I've already made my decision." She stood firmly by her choice.

Mariposa was shocked at first, but then she helplessly smiled, "I see... So it's like that..." It appeared as if she understood something at that moment.

Izroth had the same exact thought as Mariposa as he seemed to understand something as well.

'There's more than one group entering into the Chaotic Dogma Realm.'

From what was implied, Izroth knew that Mariposa and her party were most likely here for the same reason as them, to enter the Chaotic Dogma Realm!