28 Aquarion Alchemis

    The sound of the sea had lulled Nix to sleep, even though he had been busy planning the next day in his head.  One moment he was wide awake and the next he was sleeping peacefully face down on his pillow. The bed on the third level of his new houseboat was King Sized and quite comfortable. Something pulled him slowly out of his slumber. He sat up in bed, the Sea-World's moon lit up the back deck of his boat nicely.

    She sunk deeper into the water of the hot tub when he opened the sliding door leading to the back deck.  He caught a glimpse her pale back before the Aquarion hid in the bubbles.

    Her hair was braided in a complex system that went well with her white hair.  This was the same braid that Nansu wore, so Nix assumed it was the Alchemist that Nansu spent so much time with.  Since he slept in shorts, he slid into the water, sighing contently while sinking up to his chin.  "I'm Nix, we really haven't been formally introduced."

    The Aquarion didn't seem embarrassed or shy.  "I'm Fajii."

    "You do realize this is my boat, the place where I'm going to be staying."

    Fajii nodded, "the bubbles called to me."

    Nix laughed.  "Did they?  I can see now that this isn't your fault."

    Again Fajii nodded, "how come the other sea homes don't have bubbles?"

    "It cost too many credits."

    The Aquarion's pale eyes watched him, "having them is better."

    "Do you have a swimsuit Fajii?  I guess I haven't learned much about Fajii anatomy."

    "Like the dark girl?  Her's is very pretty." Her face showed that she was interested, she had admired Ronnie's swimsuit.  "I'm always in the water so my clothes are suited for that, but the bubbles are different."

    "I can make you one just for the hot tub."

    [You have sent Fajii a friend request.]

    [Fajii is now your friend.]

    Fajii smiled and nodded.  "I'll give you something nice tomorrow."

    "Since you don't need the underwater breathing features, we aren't limited to color.  Do you have a preference?"

    Fajii stared at him for a long moment before answering.  "The Fire Lord's clothes."

    "You want red?  Very bold."

    Since the swimsuit was simple, it only took a few minutes.

    Swimsuit: Red [Aquarion]

    Description: A Sleek one-piece

    swimsuit that is both comfortable

    and stylish.  Custom made for Fajii.

    Crafted by Nix.

    She stood up after trying it on.  Nix hadn't bothered to think about the difference between Aquarions and humans. She looked very good in red, her lean muscles rippled beneath her pale skin.

    "I like it," she proclaimed before sitting back down.

    Nix stifled a yawn and stood up.  "I need to get some sleep.  Big day tomorrow."

    A few feet away three women were ducked down behind the rail of their houseboat.  Tess had her hand out.  "I win, pay up."

    Semmi transferred the credits to her, "I thought we were about to witness a historical moment."

    Jun Li looked back at the Aquarion that was still sitting in Nix's hot tub.  "Everything works the same way right?"

    Tess and Semmi looked at each other and then shrugged.


    Tess, Rose, Banza, Wind, Pon, Ronnie, Chael, Jun Li, Semmi, and Nansu were all fitted for new Enhanced Aquatic gear that was a hybrid between the Black Sea Turtle Under Armor and the Malu Aquatics.  Nix had designed it to be worn under armor or by itself, which is what he preferred. Nansu wouldn't be part of the normal raid force, but for closing out the fourth stage Nix decided to bring the alchemist along; since the rewards were likely to be substantial.

    "You sure you don't need me to come?"  Mina had been busy helping her people with the construction of their village.  She spent a good portion of her day traveling to human cities and purchasing things from vendors.

    "No worries, since I've finished the fifth floor, I'll be able to access the sixth floor directly from the staging area."  Nix wanted to limit Mina's exposure to human areas until more people got used to the ideas of Aquarion allies.

    They held hands in a circle and Nix activated Deep Blue.  A moment later they appeared in the staging area of Stage four.  There was already a group there.

    Jun Li sighed when she saw who they were, "it's Salamander of course."

    Semmi noticed right away the person running things.  "They brought Shank in to run the guild?  I wonder how much that cost them."

    Nix glanced over at the  Salamander guild but didn't say anything.  "Who is Shank?"

    Jun Li scowled at the name, "he's an eighty level sharpshooter, or at least he was.  Those two bitches that shadow him are in the same boat."

    Nix felt that all three were very dangerous.  "Explain please."

    Jun Li nodded and explained. "Shank and the twins are dps. There's a high-level raid in Hispana that features a whirlwind obstacle.  By now all the guilds know to go around, going through the whirlwind route costs you two levels."

    Nix nodded as he understood.  "So the three of them went through multiple times in order to come back to fifty."

    "Correct, and you end up losing your gear unless you took all of it off beforehand."

    Nix was tempted to turn his Vilas loose on them, but he held himself back.  "What sort of advantage will they have over normal fifty level players?"

    Jun Li kept a straight face, in reality, Nix was a complete noob to gaming.  "At level 60, once your skills are maxed out, you gain modifiers at each level. Those modifiers stay regardless if you lose a few levels."

    "Let's go."  Nix summoned Soup and sat comfortably on his back while moving slowly to the entrance to the sixth floor.

    They appeared a moment later above the platform on the sixth floor.  Nix held up his hand.  "No one leaves the platform yet."

    Mina had told him that the sixth floor is really just a race, it was why he had been upgrading and customizing gear all morning.  Sooner or later his true strength would be known. He wasn't on par with the Beast Master, but he could definitely shock some people.  "Nansu you will ride Soup and head down the middle hall with Chael and me.  Junie, you take the right hall with Tess, Wind, and Semmi.  Pon that leaves you Ronnie, Rose, and Banza.  It starts when we leave the platform, we are  strictly racing the clock."

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    Ronnie smiled at him, "what will you give me if I beat you?"

    Nix returned the archers smile, "nothing.  The faster we go, the better the reward.  Everyone ready?"

    Ronnie stuck her tongue out at him. "Last one there has to host a cook-out on the wharf."

    Nix nodded in agreement.  "Go!"

    A flash of blue and Nix as gone, he moved down the center hall staying close to the floor while looking for obstacles.  There were objects placed in their paths as the halls twisted and turned at odd angles.  In the center hall, Nix was staying ahead of soup, with all his item enhancements he was a match for her on a course with obstacles.  Nansu was cheering Soup on, while Chael was steadily losing ground on both of them.

    In the right Hall, Wind was steadily pulling away.  He was the only one in that group with the Aquarion Badge. The left hall race was high contested, no one held the advantage so that race had become a dead heat.

    Mina had been right, the sixth floor was mostly a bonus floor. The real challenge in Stage four had been the fifth-floor Matriarch and the Vilas that had been seeded by the elders.

    There was no chest for the end of the sixth floor, just a bunch of smiling friends ribbing the former Salamanders, who had all been a bit slower.

    Jun Li had known about the Aquarion badges, so she had figured they would be trailing everyone.

    Tess shrugged it off like a good sport.  "Guess we are cooking tonight!"

    They exited together, Salamander was in shambles, trying to recover from a complete wipe.

    Colonial Message System: Congratulations to Inferno for being the first guild to clear the Sixth floor of Stage Four and advance to Stage five.  All members of the raid will receive a +20 modifier to the skill or ability of their choice.

    Semmi whistled, "oh my, that is nice."

    "Careful... here comes trouble." Jun Li was watching as her former guild walked towards them, there were sixty of them in the staging area.  "One of them is streaming."

    Nix moved to the front of the group.  "Spread out, don't make a move unless I do."

    Shank was a lean, dark-haired man who wore his hair in a topknot and sported dual pistols at his waist.  On either side of him were exceptionally attractive blonde twins, they were both sword wielders and looked to be geared toward speed and dps. The sharpshooter approached them, all of his guild watching.  "How did a bunch of traitors manage to get to Stage Five."

    Nix ignored him and smiled at the twin on the left.  "I'm Nix. You're the older one right?"

    The blond stole a glance at her sister and then nodded.  "How did you know that?"

    "The older twin is always the prettier one."

    She tried to hide it, but a smile tugged at the corner of her mouth.

    "Perhaps you don't realize the situation you are in."  Shank sneered at him, angry at being ignored.

    [You've been challenged to a Guild Battle. Do you accept?]

    Nix laughed loudly.  "F*ck, you're a brave bastard.  Challenging the eleven of us with only sixty people."  Nix summoned all 20 of his Vilas.  "I accept!"

    [Command: Defend Me]

    Nix put six flame strands on Shank as he was pulling his pistols, he dropped both of them onto the ground, screaming in agony, the thick fire strands burning into his skin.  "Feel the love **head!"

    Both twins moved toward him at once, Nix swam upward dragging the screaming Shank with him.  The twins were intercepted by a handful of Vilas who coordinated their attacks and took them down easily.  Blood filled the water as the Vilas started to frenzy.  He quickly sectioned them off in groups of four and assigned them defense.

    [Command: Defend Nansu]

    [Command: Defend Saintess]

    [Command: Defend Gypsy-Rose]

    [Command: Attack Shank ]

    [Command: Attack Shank ]

    Shank died miserably in the jaws of the Vilas, howling in anger while returning to his binding point.  In only a few minutes, all of Salamander had been wiped out, with the exception of a healer named Philoe.  Philoe had been the one tasked with streaming, he hadn't been attacked since he wasn't taking part.

    Nix smiled at Philoe who was still streaming.  "You picked the wrong side **head."

    [Command: Attack Philoe]

    [Your Sea-Beast Master skill has improved to level 2]

    [You can now stable 25 Beasts.]

    The last thing Philoe streamed was twenty Vilas tearing into him while he screamed in terror.

    Nix glanced at Ronnie who was staring at him opened mouthed.  "Will they come back?"

    Ronnie shook her head, "they lost a guild challenge and so can't revive for an hour."

    "Oh, I see..."  Nix noticed all the gear on the ground.  "What about the gear then?"

    Ronnie finally snapped out of her surprise.  "It's all ours, challenging and accepting Guild fights can be crippling."

    Semmi nodded while she began looting. "Every person forfeits two items, usually weapons."

    "Holy ** Nix."  Ronnie moved closer, her dark face flashing a smile at him.  "We wiped out Salamander!"

    Pon was standing next to Wind, they both had their arms crossed in front of him.  "Care to share what just happened Nix?"  Pon had faced Matriarchs in the past, he knew exactly what that skill was.

    "I possess the Sea-Beast Master Skill.  It gives me the ability to train and control water creatures."

    Jun Li was watching him carefully.  "How come you can train the Sea-Beast skill?"

    "I managed to steal a charged artifact meant for one of the future Matriarchs."  It sounded a bit thin to Nix.  The artifact should have been a 'mount trainer' only in his hands.  He suspected that the Gladis Corporation had inadvertently aided him when they had illegally enhanced their lifestyle players.

    No one else said anything, they finished looting and then returned to the Sea-World.  He had Jun Li and Semmi prepare a statement for the forums. After they logged off tonight, they would return as 3-year term stasis players.
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