65 New Allies

    Mina and her Aquarion Assault team were huddled closely together on the deck of the Phoenix.  At the last minute, the Souza Accord leader had decided to accompany Nix and Jun Li.

    "You're going to fall overboard if you keep trying to get at it like that."  Nix had to grab Jun Li's arm when she nearly slipped over the rail.

    Jun Li stared at the Phoenix figurehead in frustration.  "Nix!  You said you were going to tell us all of your secret upgrades for your ship!"

    Nix had upgraded the entire fleet's sails and told them how to upgrade the cannons.  The Soaring Phoenix head he would let them find out for themselves, although he had mentioned it in passing to Pon.  "Where's the fun in that."

    Phoenix Figurehead

    Description: A terror of the

    seas.  The Phoenix soars above all others.

    +10 Fire Damage to cannons

    +30 Speed to travel.  All effects

    are stackable.

    Jun Li finally gave up, "thanks for not letting me fall overboard."

    Nix scratched his chin to hide the guilty look he was wearing.  Letting her fall overboard had been very tempting.  "No worries Junie."

    Jun Li was wearing one of the armor sets that Moki had made for the guild.  With the inclusion of the Kraken leather, it was a legendary set.  Moki had turned the leather Kraken armor into a beautifully scaled armor that was vastly superior to any plate armor at the mid-levels. "It was nice of Fey to donate scales to the cause."

    "She loses them monthly."  Nix had discovered that the pond Fey normally soaks in was saturated with her scales. Drake scales had given them the punch to create a legendary set of Scaled armor.  He glanced at Junie, the scaled armor had a reddish tinge, her long black braid and pale skin added together to make her a striking figure.

    "I don't see Shae much nowadays."  Jun Li tried not to sound like she was prying, but of course, she was. "Is everything okay?"

    Nix didn't know how much to share, Shae had to constantly monitor Fajii's fire levels.  The Aquarion chemist wouldn't have survived without the personal attention of the Salamander Nemesis.  "Shae is in an important phase in solidifying her foundation.  When she emerges, her strength will be terrifying."

    "Like yours?"  Jun Li was too busy during the assault to monitor Nix, but she had heard the account from others.  She had also seen the streamed version.  He had pulled the head completely off of a Water Lord while killing two Matriarchs.  A few days after that, she had received written apologies from the guild leaders of Nottingham and Marauder. The apologies had come with a promise of non-aggression and a large number of credits.  Jun Li hadn't been fooled by the gesture, she knew they were scared to death that Inferno was going to swoop in and finish them off.

    "You were pretty impressive yourself Junie.  I thought you were a DPS when we first met, but now you are tanking alongside Sharl and Banzi."

    "I adjusted a few things so I could be used as an off-tank.  Sharl is still the best tank at our level in Colonial."


    Rhatia hadn't changed since Jun Li had led an assault team to save the black diamond in the King's crown.  The capital of Neptia was a beautiful city with several cultural enhancements.  Not the least of these was a university and a museum.  The pale white stone streets gave it a heavenly appearance.  Without a doubt, Rhatia was the cleanest city in Colonial.

    Nix and Jun Li were welcomed into a large stateroom along with several heads of state.  Mina and her team had chosen to stay on board the Phoenix.

    /Guildchat: Nix: Junie, where are the other Kings?

    /Guildchat: Jun Li: They won't be here for a simple signing Nix.  Since they've agreed, their representatives will do the signing.

    /Guildchat: Nix: Damn... This doesn't feel very historical.

    /Guildchat: Jun Li: King Cray will be in attendance, as the host he will reside over the signing.

    /Guildchat: Wind: For the record, I would like to inform everyone that the 'Gambler' has just made its first kill.

    Nix smiled at the statement.  The normally reserved Wind was slowly becoming more sociable.  He had been given a Galleon ship as his flagship.

    /Guildchat: Nix:  Great job Wind.

    /Guildchat: Ronnie: I am so glad we aren't in the Terran faction, those bastards are lame.

    /Guildchat: Semmi: I agree.

    The entire signing only took a few minutes, however, the discussion that took place before then was quite extensive.  The other Kingdoms of Broyan had no real grasp of a non-monarchy government system.  In the interest of moving things along, Nix had offered them Shae Balefire as the ruler of Glory Island.  He had discussed the probability of this happening with her, although she was uninterested in ruling, she had no issues with being the figurehead.

    An hour later Nix and Jun Li were boarding the Phoenix when the world-wide announcement was made.

    Colonial System Message: A new nation has joined the Broyan Kingdom Coalition. The Independent City-State of Glory Island has been formed.

    [New Guild Options are available]

    [New Glory Island Options are available]

    [New Fire Palace Options are available]

    /Guildchat: Ronnie: Can I be a princess?

    /Guildchat: Sharl: Are we really sisters?

    /Guildchat: Nix: Princess Ronnie?  Hmm... I don't hate it.

    /Guildchat: Semmi: It does have a certain ring to it.

    Jun Li watched while Nix interacted with Mina and her assault team.  The Aquarions had accepted the Inferno members as allies, but they treated Nix like family.  It was evident in the way they were always touching him.  Aquarions often showed their friendship by placing a hand on your shoulder when they spoke.  If the relationship was close they would embrace or stroke the person's head.

    Nix laughed at something one of the Aquarion males said and then turned his attention toward Jun Li.  "What do we know about Resolute?"

    Jun Li waited until he approached to answer. "Not much honestly. They are one of the few upper-tier guilds that don't have a mid-range branch."

    Nix claimed a spot at the rail next to her.  "What's their average level?"

    "Mid-70s."  Jun Li had to research them on the forums, most of her experience was at the mid-tier.

    "Why would they be interested in an alliance with us?"  Nix knew that the power difference between the mid and upper-tier was substantial.

    "There are several guilds who have approached Resolute over the years.  Until now they've shown no interest in alliances."

    "They want something from us."  Nix had given it some thought.  "Why else approach a guild that is obviously weaker?"

    "What could we give them that they can't get for themselves?"

    "Not sure, but if it involves Shae in any way, the answer will be no." Nix had seen first hand how guilds were willing to double-cross each other if it meant getting their hands on a Salamander.

    The Resolute guild was located in Espana.  In the interest of speeding things along, the Phoenix returned to Glory island, leaving Nix and Jun Li to continue the mission with the use of portals.

    The southern tip of Espana was called the Cattail peninsula, it was here that the guildhall for Resolute was located.  The guild had a rather large navy of about forty ships, they also were part of the Sea-Farer faction.

    There was no obvious guard but when Nix and Jun Li walked into the Guild's courtyard, several people approached them.

    "Please state your business friends."  A cheerful-looking man with curly brown hair and wide shoulders moved in front of them.  Three others flanked the visitors, effectively sealing them off.

    Nix didn't let the security bother him, unlike Glory, this place was easily approachable.  "I am Nix from the Inferno Guild, this is my Raid Leader Jun Li."

    The cheerful man bowed slightly, "Jun Li and Nix?  Welcome to the Resolute Guildhall.  I am Caza, one of the vice-leaders here."

    Caza led them through a set of double doors into a large stone building.  Nix thought it resembled an old fashion Fort.  They stopped at a large round table where several members were sitting.

    /Guildchat: Jun Li: This is like the Knights of Camelot.

    /Guildchat: Nix: Agreed.  So where is Arthur?

    A rather plain-looking woman in leather armor looked up when they approached.  Her short brown hair was faded to near blonde from the outdoors.  Her face was liberally covered with freckles but it was her eyes that drew attention, they were the color of blood.

    /Guildchat: Jun Li: Okay, the eyes are freaking me out.

    /Guildchat: Nix: I don't mind them.

    "Nix and Jun Li?  I am Sulane, the Guild Leader of Resolute."  The freckled woman extended her hand and shook Nix's.

    "Nice to meet you Sulane."  Nix watched while she shook Jun Li's hand also.  The small smile she had offered them both had totally transformed her face.

    "I have to admit the recent announcement has weakened our bargaining position.  May I be blunt?"  Sulane gestured to two empty seats and waited until they obliged her before sitting down herself.

    Since Nix had asked her to take the lead on negotiations, Jun Li jumped right in. "We prefer it that way also.  Please tell us what you want and then we will start from there."

    Sulane nodded and took a deep breath. "There's an artifact we are interested in attaining.  The only problem is that it resides in a place where we can't touch it."

    Jun Li shared a glanced with Nix.

    /Guildchat: Nix: Mermaid City?

    /Guildchat: Jun Li: That would be my guess.

    "A place where Resolute can't get to it?  How is that even possible?"  Jun Li smiled pleasantly and took a drink from the wine chalice they had offered her.

    "We are restricted by level.  The artifact we require is in Mermaid City."  Sulane watched them both as she spoke.  Neither showed any surprise.  From all reports, the Inferno/Souza Accord alliance were far ahead of the competition in Mermaid City.

    Jun Li nodded like she had expected it.  "We have our own agenda in Mermaid City, but then you already know that."

    "Resolute has been working on an important quest for more than two years.  We stand at the last step, imagine our surprise when we found out that all of our members are now too high to finish the quest."

    /Guildchat: Nix: We have to know what it is and what they are offering us.

    /Guildchat: Jun Li: I agree.

    Jun Li leaned over and pretended to whisper something in Nix's ear when he nodded she looked back at Sulane.  "We aren't touching this quest without knowing what it is."

    Sulane and her guildmates exchanged several looks.

    /Guildchat: Nix: Think we are being talked about in their guild chat.

    /Guildchat: Jun Li: Very likely.

    "It's called the Earth Pearl, through this quest we now have the ability to activate it."  Sulane waited patiently while considered her words.

    /Guildchat: Jun Li: Holy ** Nix.

    /Guildchat: Nix: Something important?

    /Guildchat: Jun Li: If it's real, then yes.  The Earth Pearl will open up the Earth Mage path.

    /Guildchat: Semmi: Junie?  Are you guys f*cking with us?

    /Guildchat: Jun Li: No.

    Nix had heard enough. "We agree, however, we don't agree to the terms you are offering."

    Sulane turned toward him, Inferno's infamous Fire Mage finally spoke up. "You haven't heard our terms."

    "I don't need to.  The only thing we will accept is the use of it for three days."  Nix crossed his arms to indicate he would be inflexible on this matter.

    /Guildchat: Jun Li: It probably has a recharge timer Nix!  Better to ask for usages.

    /Guildchat: Nix: Darsi?  If I give you a charged Earth Pearl, what can you do with it?

    /Guildchat: Darsi: I can make a single copy, but it will be exactly like the original. I won't know what is required until I place it in my queue.

    /Guildchat: Jun Li: Fine, ask for three days then.  Don't mention our ability to copy it.

    /Guildchat: Nix: Obviously.

    "We will agree to three days of usage." Sulane sighed heavily, "there's more.  The two year limit to finish the quest ends in two days."

    Jun Li smiled pleasantly, "that won't be an issue.  Is there anything else?"

    Nix frowned, something wasn't adding up to him.  "Why can't you drop levels like Shank did when he took over Salamander?"

    Sulane shook her head.  "Part of the quest required a  full raid into the Clam farm."

    /Guildchat: Jun Li: The Clam farm is a 50 level raid, very difficult, but unlimited numbers.

    Nix let his confusion show.  "Why does that matter?"

    "The entire guild has already dropped their levels down."

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    /Guildchat: Jun Li: The level drop only works one time on each person. They are stuck now.

    /Guildchat: Nix: That explains why they are so strong. Let's do it.

    Jun Li stood up and extended her hand.  "We will agree to those terms.  We will retrieve the artifact first thing in the morning. In exchange, once you charge it, you will lend it to us at Glory Island for three days."

    Sulane also stood up, she smiled when she shook Jun Li's hand. "I will write up a contract and send it over immediately."

    Nix nodded in satisfaction.  "Come to Glory for lunch tomorrow.  We will have it by then."
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