53 Trial of Strength part one

    Nix stepped onto the suddenly hot sand.  They had been transported to an instance, both human and Aquarions were still together.  Before them stood a huge sand-colored pyramid.  A glance overhead showed the sun to be in the noon position, the group was already starting to suffer in the stifling heat.

    "You guys okay Min?"  Nix was worried about the Aquarions, a water race would definitely not be equipped for this kind of temperature.

    Mina nodded, her pale face seemed unconcerned.  "We will be fine for now Nix."

    There were four entrances ahead with signs above each.  The first door had a fist sign, the second a water sign, the third an air sign and the fourth a fire sign.  Nix eyed the fire sign, "if this is an individual trial then you can go in whatever entrance you wish."

    Ronnie was smiling at him, "I have a wind elemental with me, should I try the wind trial?"

    Nix shrugged but Wind nodded in reply.  "Most likely those are the benefits you will receive if you do well.  I think I would take the chance."

    Mina moved in front of the water sign.  "Not sure if Aquarions are accepted in the trial, but I am going to attempt it."  Without another word, she entered the trial.  Three of the Aquarions entered the water entrance while the rest went into the Fist entrance.

    "Yep, times wasting."  Nix glanced at Wylie, "which trial are you going to attempt?"

    "Water, that has the highest compatibility with my path."  She motioned toward the Fire Entrance, "you going in there?"

    Nix nodded and waved at Ronnie before she trotted into Wind Entrance.  "Good luck!"


    He stepped through the fire door, smiling as his ring engaged his aquatic capabilities.  "Of course they send a fire mage to a  water world."  Immediately Nix summoned Ducky and Soup.

    He slowly turned in a circle.  The door had taken him to a large room with a large raised platform in the middle.  There were no other people besides himself.  A few torches located on the walls were the only decorations.

    [Meteor Storm]

    Nix aimed his only AE attack at the platform and then quickly stepped on.  As soon as he did, three water beasts appeared and started to move toward him.  Instantly all three were covered in green flame, their screeches made his ears ring.  The beasts looked like hybrid Leopard Seals, he put four strands on each of them and held them in place.  Within a few minutes, all three of them had breathed their last.

    "Guess the first level is supposed to be easy."  Nix checked his surrounding, there was no change in the room.  A moment later the platform started to slowly rise as the ceiling above him parted.  "Oh, I see."

    The platform he was standing on inserted itself in the second-floor platform, effectively doubling its size in an even bigger room.  This room had two of the Leopard Seals in each corner, these looked much stronger than the previous floor.  Nix sent Ducky into the NW corner.

    [Command: Befuddle My Target]

    Both mobs in the NW corner started gently swaying back and forth, unfortunately, the action aggroed the NE corner.  Nix sent Soup in.

    [Command: Attack My Target]

    Soup swooshed in toward one of the mobs while eight green strands of fire encircled the other.  the sizzling of meat could be heard as the creature writhed in pain.

    An image of a hand flashed in front of his eyes, he hadn't seen the 'spell assist' since the first time he used the Fire Strands.  He copied the motion and all eight strands combined and then broke off from his hand, they remained bound around the creature.

    [Core ability discovered, Fire Root.]

    Fire Root [Emerald Flame]

    Description: A painful root binds

    your enemy in place for thirty seconds.

    Creature takes on fire damage every second for

    the duration of the spell. Any outside damage

    breaks root completely.

    Soup took only a few moments before it crushed the other creature in its powerful beak, it expired with a pitiful wail.

    /Guildchat: Ronnie: Nix there's a pet trial on the fourth level, Wilo just completed it and was upgraded!

    /Guildchat: Nix: I'm only on the second level, but if I see something like that I'll let Soup and Ducky give it a try.

    /Guildchat: Ronnie: You're only on the second level?  Heh... I'm on the fifth.

    /Guildchat: Wind: Sixth. :P

    Nix moved toward Ducky and was about to try out root when another image from the 'spell assist' popped up.  This showed a single strand being used with the same technique as root.  He focused a single strand and followed the image.

    A single strand of green flame entwined itself around the creature's limbs, immediately breaking Ducky's befuddlement.  Wrapped in green flame, it screeched in agony and started making its way toward Nix.

    [Core ability discovered, Flame Snare.]

    Flame Snare [Emerald Flame]

    Description: A painful flame binding impedes

    the target's progress by sixty percent. Creature

    takes on fire damage for

    the duration of the spell. Outside damage

    does not break snare.

    "Hmm... I love an upgrade."  NIx moved toward the southern section of the room and sent Ducky and Soup into the western corner.

    [Command: Befuddlement]

    [Command: Attack My Target]

    Ducky and Soup split the targets, with the water nymph mezzing one while the elite turtle attacking the second.  Nix faced the eastern corner.

    [Fire Root]

    Eight strands of green flame wrapped itself around the nearest target, effectively sealing it to the floor.  The second creature immediately came after nix.

    [Flame Snare]

    The legs of the charging creature were bound by a single strand, causing it to slow considerably.

    Nix targeted the snared mob again.

    [Comet Strike]

    [Comet Strike]

    Nix hit it with two straight range attacks and then retreated toward Soup who was just finishing off his target.

    [Command: Attack My Target]

    He sent Soup after the snared mob that was still chasing him before sending a dozen strands onto Ducky's befuddled target.  He held the creature in place until it died.  At his command, Soup finished off the last target, and the floor was cleared..

    A moment later the platform started moving upward, signaling their advancement to the next level.

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    There was no companion trial on the fourth floor, as Nix progressed steadily he found the trial on the ninth floor.  Through guild chat, he head learned that Ronnie and Wind both were stopped at the 8th floor.  All of the Aquarions except for Mina were back and reported that they had made it to the ninth level.

    Nix also directed Soup and Ducky to start the companion trial.  "You two better not be shown up by that little gecko, even or worse the wisp!"

    As soon as they entered the small door, it slammed shut behind them and an Aquarion Mage was summoned.

    The mage immediately raised an arm and summoned a companion.

    [Meteor Storm]

    Nix centered the spell on them and let it loose while he moved forward.

    [Fire Root]

    He cast flame root at a reptilian creature with large bat-like wings, it stopped in place.  The intelligent head turning to one side.  A moment later it bathed Nix in flames.

    Reflexively he jumped out of the way, even though flames really couldn't harm him.  He cast snare on the mage while he cursed him.

    [Flame Snare]

    "Why does a f*cking Aquarion Water Mage have a Fire pet?"

    The mage was too busy writhing in pain to cast another spell.  The green strands dug into him.  "Let's really make your day!"

    [Aura Ignition]

    His aura exploded outward and instantly a half dozen large tentacles gripped the Aquarion.  He held it in place while it screeched, the companion finally broke the root and charged Nix.  He put the rest of his aura tentacles on the pet, freezing it in place.  "Immune to fire damage right?  Too bad your master isn't."

    A minute later the Aquarion died with a pitiful scream, He put the rest of the tentacles on the pet, but it had no effect other than to immobilize it.  They stared at each other, surprisingly the creature didn't seem aggressive any longer.  Nix decided to inspect it.

    Fey [Fire Drake]

    Description: A rare

    creature companion of

    unknown rank. Can be used

    to fight or as a flying mount.

    Nix dropped the tentacles and the two stared at one another.  He knew that since they were both immune to fire, he would either get torn apart or fight to a stalemate by holding it indefinitely.  Unexpectedly the drake bowed its head.

    [Fey the Fire Drake has requested a companion bond.  Do you accept?]


    Fey [Fire Drake]


    [Fire Breathe]


    [Carpet Bomb]

    Nix stepped forward and extended a hand," You can stealth?  Damn... you are awesome."  He glanced at the closed companion gate.  "Too bad you can't go through it now."

    *Thank you for freeing me from this pitiful Water Mage"  Fey pushed its muzzle into Nix's Chest as if speaking was normal.

    Nix stared at the Drake, before stroking its finely scaled head. "Why can you speak?"

    "Better question... Why is a Salamander pretending to be human?"
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