37 Durilium Diamonds

    An Aquarion healer named Meera cast a cleanse on the Trifelez King.  Within a few seconds, his lucidity returned.

    King Gormick was a young ruler, at twenty-five he was a decade younger than the rest of the Broyan rulers.  His pale face and shock of curly black hair made him appear even younger. He shook the healer's hand and thanked her without any prejudices.  "The Souza Accord has aided us in a time of great need.  We shall never forget."

    Nix was standing between Jun Li and Mina.  "The woman with the orange clothes... What was she after?"

    The Trifelez King studied him for a moment, he knew that this man stood at the heart of his rescue.  The Monarch removed his crown and showed them an empty setting before handing the crown to Nix.  "She took the Durilium Diamond from its place setting."

    Nix held the crown in his hand, "it's heavier than it looks.  Why not just take the crown?"

    King Gormick shook his head and accepted the crown back.  "The crown is an artifact, a massive penalty is laid upon anyone removing it from Broyan."

    Nix noticed that the rest of the stones were all diamonds. "Is there anything special about the Durilium Diamonds?"

    The King nodded, "there are only five in existence."

    Nix cursed under his breath. "The other four wouldn't happen to be stones set into the other  Crowns of Berma?

    Gormick nodded again, "The Nations of Berma, Safarza, Trifelez, Neptia, and Valis, were all gifted with these rare black diamonds."

    Nix turned to Wind who was standing to one side, "return to Berma and check to see if their stone is missing."

    Jun Li watched the scout leave. "Is that what is behind everything?  They want those black diamonds?"

    Semmi brought up her hud and accessed the forums.  "We need an expert opinion.  She said she was an artificer right?  Those are exceedingly rare, you have to have  mining and jeweler maxed out before you can even start."

    The young King considered her words for a moment. "There's an old Artificer in Safarza, you'll need permission from their monarchy to see him.  He's the sitting King's uncle."


    Darsi untied her ponytail and let her blonde hair fall over her shoulders.  Her small one-bedroom apartment at the Lifestyle village had a breathtaking view of the Snowcapped peaks that topped the surrounding mountains.   She opened her hand and stared at the glittering black stone.

    She left her small apartment and exited into the hallway.  It was set up like her old college dorm.  Across the hall was an empty room with a picture of a man on it.  Above the picture were the numbers 777.  "You are way more handsome than your picture Trip-Seven."

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    "How did it go?"  A masculine voice spoke from the floor exit.  He was a short man bald man, with brown eyes and thick brows.  He probably weighed no more than a hundred pounds.

    Darsi held out her hand and displayed the stone.  "Two down and two to go."  She tapped the picture on the door.  "Guess who I saw today?"

    The short man grinned, "so he did escape?"  The small man's name was Dalton Moore, he was a computer engineer that was caught hacking corporate secrets.  He turned states evidence for a lighter five-year sentence.

    Darsi nodded, she wasn't pale like many natural blondes, her skin had a nice olive color, courtesy of the character generation interface. "He's not just a Tailor anymore, he's become a strong player.  Somehow he's figured something out, half of the damn beastmaster bracers I made are now missing."

    "Nothing can be done about that. Did you bring some news?"  Dalton looked like a little kid at Christmas.  Gladis controlled all the information at the hub since they had the ability to deactivate any part of your hud that they wished.  However, that wasn't the case when you left the facility.

    Darsi handed him a thick pile of papers.  "Those are forum downloads, national news, financials, and sports."

    Dalton took the papers and paged to the forum information first.  "How are the beastmasters behaving?"

    Darsi scowled, her pretty face looking angry.  "They are a bunch of idiots, the sooner we wash our hands of them the better."


    Jun Li had moved camp from Burma to the Western edge of Trifeleza. With Wind still investigating the Berma Crown, she had decided to send Semmi to Safarza to warn them of what was occurring regarding the black diamonds.  She was sitting in the TOC with Tess.

    "You look a bit cross, Junie."  Tess smiled at her former guild leader.  They had become closer since leaving Salamander.

    Jun Li nodded, "soon as he found out that the Trifeleza portal opened up, he left without saying anything."

    "You're talking about Nix, right?  Remember he needs to check up on the Sea-World.  They've been there with no access to the rest of Colonial for a few days now."

    Jun Li made a face but didn't comment. He had taken Chael, Mina, and Ronnie.  No one had even bothered to ask her if she wanted to go also.


    Nix dropped off Chael and Mina at the Sea-World.  Nansu had been very happy to see him, apparently, they didn't separate very often.

    Fajii waited until everyone had greeted them before she handed Nix a piece of paper.  "Could you pick me up a few things in Jenza Nix?"

    "Sure, as soon as I drop off some things at Shana's."  He had given her a few days worth of product before leaving for Broyan, more than likely it was all gone by now.

    Nix emptied his stable and watched as the Water Nymphs started to explore their new surroundings.

    He started to activate Deep Blue.

    "Can I get a ride into Jenza?  I'll be meeting Sharl and some of the Daybreakers later today.

    "You meeting up with big sister?"  He hadn't spoken much with the Daybreaker guild leader since they had parted ways.  "Tell her I said hi."  He activated Deep Blue and then chose Jenza.

    The dark-haired archer flashed a smile at him.  "I'll make my own way back to camp, so don't wait up."

    Nix handed her the list of items that Fajii had given him.  "You've been drafted, pick these things up for Fajii before you run off."

    Ronnie made a face at the list.  "FIne, I expect some new clothes as compensation."

    "Sure, because running errands for a few minutes is work a few hundred thousand credits worth of clothes."

    "Time is money Nix!"

    Nix walked down the Main street of Jenza toward the boutique.  From the outside, it seemed like another shop entirely.  New signs, some fresh paint and some minor repairs to the sidewalk had changed everything.  The shop had a dozen customers in it when he entered.

    "Nix!"  Shana spotted him as soon as he entered.  She bowled into him with her arms spread wide, hugging him tightly.

    He picked her up and sat her on the counter.  "Did you make me something nice?"   Shana had been learning some tailoring from her grandma.

    Shana  shook her head, "everything I make ends up looking like someone's old sock!"

    Nix took out a few boxes and placed them on the counter. "Keep working hard."

    Maye walked in from the back room and sat down her ledger.  "Nice to see you Nix, we should settle accounts before you run off."

    He nodded and watched when the zeroes were added to his account.  "The swimsuits are a big hit?"

    The old woman turned the ledger around and showed him the numbers.  "Bring a bunch more next time, word of mouth is spreading.  We can sell however many you make."

    A few minutes later he left the shop and headed back toward the portal. There were several people flying overhead on their mantas. Originally when the artifact was given to the Provost Office, they were obligated to split the proceeds with Salamander and the Daybreakers.  The actual wording of the contract awarded Salamander's thirty percent to the guild treasurer, which was Tess.  The healer was splitting it with those that had left Salamander with them.

    Nix took the portal to Cyphix and walked toward the Kindled Spirit.  It was nearly dinner time and he had missed Hyai's cooking.

    The buxom innkeeper smiled when he walked in.  "Just head up Nix, I'll bring your dinner when it's ready."

    "Any kind of stew is fine with me,"  Nix hummed to himself as he dredged up the stairs.  Whenever he walked into the Kindled Spirit, it felt like he was returning home.

    He tossed his clothes in a pile and ran some hot water in the enormous porcelain tub.  As soon as it was filled, he sunk up to his chin and leaned back with a contented sigh.

    He must have drifted off to sleep, he woke a while later when a soft body moved into the tub with him.  Nix opened one eye to see the smiling redhead's voluptuous body just before it sank beneath the surface.  He pulled her toward him until she lay on top of him.

    "Not going to eat first Nix?"  Hyai kissed him lightly, the tips of her loose red hair dangling in the water.

    "Hmmm..."  He cupped her large breasts in both hands and held them gently.  "Sometimes dessert before dinner is nice."

    Hyai moved her legs up until she was straddling his waist.  "We can always reheat it," she agreed.
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