66 Earth Pearl part one

    Nix listened to Semmi give the Earth Pearl brief.  It was located on the third stage of an unguarded section of Mermaid City.  An old abandoned temple housed the Earth artifact.  Lore said that Earth mages were once a very large part of the Aquarion civilization, but that slowly with the passage of time, the Water Mages ran them out.

    Semmi brought up the only known map of the area.  "As you know, there aren't many guilds at the third stage.  We could expect interference from Salamander, but with their recent troubles, they've placed raiding on the backburner in the interest of protecting their resources."

    Sharl was looking at the map, it seemed very straight forward, there were two approaches to the temple.  "So two small raid teams?  What is the thought process here?"

    Semmi nodded, "A team of ten coming in the front, and a team of five trying to enter stealthily from the side entrance."

    Jun Li was looking at the guild roster and trying to find their best options.  This was too important to trust any of the new recruits.  "The side team will be Nix, Chael, Wind, Semmi, and Milat."

    Nix nodded in agreement when he heard the team.  Milat was an Aquarion melee expert who had received a shadow bracer in the Trifelez raid.  Since then he had fully embraced the silent kill methods of a stealth class.  "Who'll be at the front then?"

    Jun Li read the names she had picked, "myself, Sharl, Pon, Ronnie, Banzi, Gypsy, Tess, Mina, Donri and Nez."

    Nix would have preferred Mina to be in his group, but he understood her dps would be needed in the front door group that was tank and healer heavy.  "Will we be fighting Aquarions?"

    Mina shook her head, "although many Aquarions had become Earth mages, the acolytes in the temple were a hidden race.  No one knows what they were."

    Nix glanced at two of the first people he had grouped with in Colonial, Nez, and Donri.  Since joining Inferno with Sila, they had worked hard on leveling and were now properly geared.  More importantly, Nez was a talented healer and Donri a steadfast tank.  He had given Nez secret instructions, keep Mina alive at all costs.

    Jun Li decided she liked the groupings, since Nix had appointed her Raid Leader, it was her call. "We'll leave from the dock portal in an hour."

    Nix decided on a quick meal before the raid.  It was a bit after the normal dinner time, but the kitchen was still open.  He walked through the dining room and stopped in the kitchen doorway. "Why do you look so happy when you are cooking?"

    Hyai looked up from the oven and quickly closed it before answering.  "Cooking makes me happy.  When you get older you realize it's the simple things that are nicest."

    Nix smiled and walked in, she served him a bowl of stew and they talked in the kitchen while she prepared the baked goods for the next day.  "Our trip to Jenza is going to be later than planned."

    "It's fine hun, my daughter has prepared a room for us."

    "Will I still be able to meet the Swordsman?"  Nix had never really given the sword much thought.  Guns seemed much more effective to his modern thinking. After raiding for a while, he felt something a bit more up close and quiet would also be nice. Hyai knew a master swordsman, more importantly, he was staying with her daughter and son-in-law in Jenza.

    Hyai poured him some wine, then helped herself to the first drink.  "He's a bit of an odd duck, but he will be staying the rest of the week."

    Nix could learn the sword at any skill trainer, but Roaming Masters would oftentimes produce unexpected results.

    /Guildchat: Jun Li: We have some new guild options Nix if you want to activate them.

    /Guildchat: Nix: Wasn't sure if those were wanted. Do what you think is best Junie.

    [Inferno Members may now send personalized communications to each other and other guild personnel that have this feature enabled.]

    Unlike other VR games, Colonial didn't come with a built-in communication package.  In the interest of expanding initial networking among beginner players, this feature wouldn't be added until they joined an advanced guild.

    [Whisper: Semmi to Nix]  First!

    Nix looked up at the blonde-haired scout, she gave him a small wave without saying anything else.

    [Whisper: Ronnie to Nix] I wanted to be the first to send you a whisper!

    [Whisper: Nix to Ronnie] Sorry... Semmi was first.


    Nix was standing in the shipyard with Captain Delphi.  He had directed her to enter the first berth in the Legendary shipyard and then to have everyone disembark.

    [Legendary Shipyard Options] Which task do you wish to perform?

    1) Build a new ship.

    2) Copy an existing ship.

    3) Enhance an existing ship.

    Nix chose option three, he wanted to further enhance the Phoenix.

    [Analyzing existing modifications]

    Navy Frigate: Phoenix

    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.

    Steel Cannon: Twenty-pounder

    Customized Cannons

    Description: Fires twenty pound

    projectiles.  Max Range: 450 meters.

    Effective Range: 200 meters.

    Accuracy 5/10, reload 9 seconds.

    Phoenix Sail

    Description: A beautiful white sail

    emblazoned with the image of a majestic

    Phoenix.  + 20 to Sail Speed.  + 10 to turn radius.

    Craft Rating: Epic

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    [Do you wish to enhance the Phoenix?]

    "Yes." Nix patted Captain Delphi on the back.  "Keep an eye on things here.  When I come back we are going hunt up some Terrans."

    Delphi grinned and nodded.  "I can't wait, sir."


    An hour later Nix was huddled together with Wind, Semmi, Chael, and Milat." Both him and Chael quietly drank their invisibility potions since they were the only ones without natural stealth.

    Nix glanced at his hud, Jun Li and her team would hit the front first.  Hopefully, this would pull most of the aggro to the front door.  His team would fight as little as possible.  Get the pearl and leave quickly.

    /Inferno: Jun Li:  Here we go.  Please knock on the door Pon!

    /Inferno: Pon: It's a shame to f*ck up such a nice door.

    The Fire Mage targeted the door, it looked like a pretty solid metal door.  There were intricate carvings that showed the talent of a true artist.


    A blast of white flame passed through the metal door like it was paper, leaving a huge gaping hole through it.  Bits of melted metal ran down the door.

    Sharl, Banzi and Jun Li charged to the front.  A few seconds later a dozen hooded acolytes burst through the doorway.

    [Barricade: Sharl, Banzi, Jun Li]

    [Shield Domain Established]

    The three tanks utilized the same ability, by combining them they created a domain that must be destroyed before the enemy can implement any other strategy.


    [Summon: Ducky]

    Nix waited a few moments longer and then activated his tempory stealth icon.  "Time to go guys."

    The side door was locked, but Semmi and her support skills made short work of it. She noticed Nix's smile.  "Dig a chick who can pick locks?"

    Nix nodded, "who doesn't"

    The other men in the group nodded in agreement.  The group entered through the door and immediately came upon a choice, up or down?  They stood in the landing of a massive staircase.

    /Inferno: Nix: Crap... if we choose the wrong one.

    /Inferno: Semmi: Let's split up, we'll take ten minutes to scout and then regroup.

    /Inferno: Nix: Two down and three up.  I'll head down.

    /Inferno: Wind: Me too.

    Nix and Wind headed down the staircase, while the other three moved upward.

    /Inferno: Semmi: If anyone finds it, let us know.  Don't try to take it by yourself.

    Nix and Wind descended several flights of stone stairs, finally, they came to an exit.

    [Whisper: Wind to Nix] I'll take this level.

    With a flash he was gone, leaving Nix to continued downward. There were no other exits from the stairs, after several minutes the stairs ended abruptly in a large door with a barred window.  To Nix's eye, this looked exactly like a dungeon.

    [Command: Scout Area]

    Ducky nodded in compliance and disappeared through the door.  Nix followed along much more slowly.  A low hissing sound made the skin on the back on his neck crawl. The sound came from all around him as he entered a cell area.  The prisoners were all cloaked and covered from head to toe.  For the most part, they were shackled either to the floor or the wall.

    Ducky appeared a few minutes later.  Nix checked his map, there were two red icons on it that were a bit further away.

    /Inferno: Chael: I found the Earth Pearl!  It's on the top floor and it's guarded by three acolytes!

    /Inferno: Semmi: Great Chael!  Everyone rendezvous on the top floor.

    Nix looked around the dungeon, his thoughts seemed to slow a bit.  Something was off, he really wanted to explore this area a bit more.

    /Inferno: Nix: Change in plans Semmi, proceed with the Pearl Extraction.  I'm going to investigate something.

    /Inferno: Semmi: What if we can't handle the fight without you?

    /Inferno: Nix: Ask the King to help, then run like hell. I won't be long.  If you aren't confident, then wait a bit.

    Ducky grabbed his arm when he headed to the door on the far side of the open cells.  She shook her head, fear evident in her eyes.

    "Something scary Ducky?"  He patted her head gently and moved toward the door anyway.

    The room he entered was much brighter than the one he had left.  A single Aquarion sat on a huge throne.  He was obviously male, there was a large broadaxe across his back and a whip in his hand.  His eyes looked maniacal as he whipped the prisoner repeatedly from his seat.

    /Inferno: Nix: The f*ck is that?

    The woman was perhaps the most beautiful female he had ever seen, She looked like a bronzed goddess, her long light brown hair descended down her perfect bare back.  Her wrists were bound with shackles and attached to a metal frame that forced her to stand.  That absolute beauty stopped at her waist, where she turned into a snake.

    /Inferno: Nix: There's an Aquarion here, and something else. Stay on the mission, I won't be long.

    Nix shook his head to clear it, she hissed again when the whip cracked against her back.  Her snake body started out the thickness of a woman's waist and then slowly narrowed to a tip.  He estimated the snake part to be about ten feet in length. He recognized the race from Greek mythology, she was a Lamia.
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