21 King Lubo

    [A world Seed has been activated, all living creatures will be preserved while the World Space is being built.  Please exit now, or you will be returned to your Binding point.]

    She looked tentatively at him, "Where are you going?"

    He shook his head, "we aren't at that level of trust yet."  He believed her, but he wouldn't risk his Daybreaker friends on a hunch.

    "I've no way of keeping in touch with you, it seems that I've failed my mission." She slipped her mask back in place.

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    He watched her for a moment and then pulled out the second Deep Blue Bracelet.  "This is just a loan. Don't give me a reason to regret."

    She caught the bracelet that he tossed to her.  He couldn't see the slight smile on her lips.  "Thank you, Nix."


    He activated Deep Blue and chose Jenza, immediately from there he used the city portal and paid a hundred credits for travel to Broyan.

    The humidity of the place hit him when he stepped off the platform.  The city of Cella was the biggest in Broyan it was a sprawling city with white buildings and white stone roads.  Nix squinted against the glare of the morning sun. "Would it kill them to make a brown building?"

    "Probably."  Ronnie watched him step off the platform, the younger sister laughing while he shielded his eyes.

    Nix looked around the square, it was typical for Colonial besides the bright white stones. "You on pick-up duty?"

    Ronnie nodded, "yes.  Follow me please."

    He followed the dark-haired archer toward the city gate, "Somethings different about you.  New armor?"

    Ronnie smiled over her shoulder at him.  "You know it's my hair.  Do you like it?"

    "Very nice."  Nix gave the only acceptable answer, although in this instance he agreed.  Her normal long braid down her back had been trimmed to shoulder length.  "Since Sharl has been letting hers grow out, I didn't want people to confuse us."

    Nix nodded in a noncommittal way.  No one would ever confuse slim and athletic Ronnie with her older sister. Having seen them both, he couldn't say if he preferred one over the other.

    As soon as they went through the gate, they both summoned their Mantas.  The Daybreakers had been thriving since the Jenza Flying Mount Stable was introduced.  They received thirty percent of the profits as did the Salamander guild.  The Provost Marshals Office received forty percent for overseeing the day to day operations.

    Ronnie glanced at Nix's white mount and a heavy sigh escaped her lips.  "Won't you find me one of those Nix?"

    "Does the color really matter?"  Nix hadn't really shown her the difference, but the white mantas were much faster in both the air and water.

    "Of course, look how pretty it is."

    They headed south from Cella.  A few minutes later they arrived at a small clearing.  Pon, Wind, and Sharl were all waiting.

    The old fire mage took a long drink from the canteen he was holding and then put it away.  "Keeping an old man waiting so long, where's your respect Nix?"

    Nix smiled knowingly, "in this humidity, you probably should actually put water in your canteen rather than booze."

    Pon nodded, "I know it, but there's something pleasant about being drunk in a swamp."

    He accepted a hug from Sharl and a respectful nod from Wind.

    Nix unsummoned his mount and waited.  They were searching for a splinter faction of the Burning Sea that was known to inhabit the Fel marsh south of Cella.  The Fel marsh had the disadvantage of not being able to be scouted from the air. The soft muddy area made travel on foot very slow.     It roughly five hundred miles across and extended from Cella, all the way to the ocean. For the most part, the thick foliage created an impenetrable canopy a dozen yards off the ground. It was overgrown to the point where you couldn't see the sky above.  It darkened the area substantially, making it difficult to stay on your path.  All sorts of land and sea-beasts hid in its shadows.

    The rest of the group stowed their mounts as well.  Mantas refused to have anything to do with the marsh.  Nix could sense the uneasiness of his Aviante before he put it away

    He activated the Sea-Beast bracelet that he had hidden under his sleeves, while he waited for the others. Everyone assumed that he had given his Sea-Beast bracelet to Sergeant Ton from the Provost Marshals Office.  Technically that was true, he hadn't mentioned that he had acquired another.

    [Scan Surround Areas?]


    [Scanning, Standy By...]

    [109] Sea-Beasts Located]

    [Type 1: Salt Water Crocodile:28]

    [Type 2: Toxic Sea Snapping Turtle: 14]

    [Type 3: Venomous Sea Snake: 31]

    [Type 4 Swamp Adler: 24]

    [Type 5: Salt Water King Lubo: 1]

    Nix read the list and began to have second thoughts about not bringing his turtles.  They were only at the edge of the marsh, and yet there were all these creatures. Even though it was technically a swamp, you couldn't see the water, it was covered by a spongey moss that was a large part of the local wildlife's diet. His huge sea turtles would have been bogged down and unable to move properly.

    [Do you wish to Train the Available Sea-Beasts?]

    He used his hands to make the choices, he didn't want to bring a bunch of swamp animals back to his Lake Cavern but he was curious.  What the hell was King Lubo?

    [Train Type 5: Salt Water King Lubo]

    [Salt Water King Lubo has been added to the Taming Queue.]

    He pushed his sleeve back down and walked back to the group.  They were all staring at Wind's hud.

    Ronnie's face looked nervous.  "Wind's scout class has a skill that displays nearby threats.  You wouldn't believe how many poisonous creatures are within a few yards of us."

    Nix kept his face expressionless, "pretty sure I would."

    Pon summoned a glow lamp, it hovered a few feet overhead.  It would give out just enough light to see the ground beneath your feet, but it couldn't be seen from a long distance.

    Wind closed his hud and moved toward the edge of the clearing.  "Walk where I walk.  One misstep and you'll find yourself back at your binding point.  That's if you die before they start eating you."

    Ronnie swallowed hard and moved closer to her sister.  "Why didn't we just go swimming with Nix?"

    They walked single file in the dimly lit marsh.  Although the trail was covered with the spongey moss, each step you took would sink into the mud.  Everyone's feet were soaked within a few minutes.

    Two hours into the journey they found a campsite.  Long was kneeling beside it, going through the ashes.  He pulled out the charred remains of a small rodent,  immediately drew his daggers.  "Be ready!"

    A stinging sensation on the back of his neck, followed by two more on his face were all the warning Nix had before the world went blurry and he collapsed to his knees.  Reflexively, he activated Deep Blue and chose Lake Cavern.

    [Lake Cavern is in the process of being upgraded.  Travel is not available at this time.]

    Before he could choose another option, his vision faded and he fell face-first into the marsh.

    He woke slowly, a good while later.  His hands and feet were bound and he had been thrown in a small cage.  He shook his head to clear it, slowly the blurriness went away and his vision returned.

    He shared the cage with Wind, who gave him an embarrassed shrug.  "Good thing you brought me along."

    Nix nodded in agreement,  Ronnie and Sharl were tied up in a second cage, but Pon had been tied and hooded.  Everyone feared casters.

    [King Lubo has been added to your Stable 1/19]

    Nix caught a glimpse of his captors.  They walked hunched over, their hands nearly dragging the ground.  Their bodies were covered in green scales and they were piling wood onto an already roaring fire.  "What the hell are these," Nix whispered?

    "From what I can see, these are Sythryn. They live in the swampy areas in small numbers. However, these are evolved a bit more than they should be. They are using fire and tools, more like another humanoid race than the reptiles they should be."

    "I'm confident that I can summon strands, even tied like this."  Nix did a quick count, "only six of them, but..."

    Wind nodded, "it's a few too many.  It pains me to say that I can be of no use in my current situation."

    Sharl and Ronnie caught his eye, they were both okay, although the younger sister looked scared out of her wits.

    Nix smiled at them then glanced back at Wind. "It's fine, I have a trump card. Be ready for anything, I'm not sure what will happen."

    [Summon King Lubo]

    [Command: Defend]

    A minute went by and then another, but nothing happened.

    "The hell is going on."  Nix glanced around but couldn't see anything.  However, suddenly the swamp seemed to have gone deathly quiet.  A movement at the corner of his eye caused him to turn his head.

    A four-inch-tall creature, that looked suspiciously like a gecko was standing on his shoulder just inches away.  He had small webbed feet and a gold ridge on his head that looked a bit like a crown. It was King Lubo.
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