99 Sudden Disappearance

    "Hmmm... so delicious."  A soft female voice purred from the darkness.  Red eyes gleamed from the shadows of the dimly lit hall.  A large raised stage had been placed in front of three empty thrones.

    Nix shivered at the sound, something about it creeped him out.  He stepped onto the stage and Mina followed. When he did, torches mounted on the stone walls burst with light, pushing back the blackness that had covered the room a moment earlier. "I'm Nix, Champion of the Fire Palace on Glory Island."  He felt his medallion pulse suddenly, it was obvious that hers had done so also.

    She moved toward the stage, one step seeming to close the distance.  Long black hair fell down her back like an obsidian waterfall, high cheekbones, and blood-red lips completed the image.  She was a vampire. She drew her weapons while she watched him, the twin daggers from her belt slid free of their scabbards with a soft metallic scrape.  "I'm Josora, Champion of the Black Temple." She wore simple black armor that seemed to cling to her body like a lover.    Her long fangs showed when she smiled at him. "It's been a while since I had a new toy."

    Nix shook his head to clear it.

    [You have resisted Charm]

    A half dozen small clouds of fog formed on the edges of the stage, slowly solidifying into human forms.

    /Inferno: Nix: A whole nest of Vampires.  Wonderful. Leave the Champion to me Min.

    /Inferno: Mina: Understood.

    [Flight of the Gryphon]

    Nix advanced with a giant leap, drawing the scythe and flaming it on in midair. It slammed into the daggers that Josora raised like an 'X' to block and drove her back several steps.

    "Where did you get that weapon?"  She leaped to one side but was interrupted when a half dozen emerald strands settled around her arms.  Her scream of agony made Nix's ears ring.

    Nix felt the tremendous strength of her when she tried to pull away.  The smell of cooking meat and the sound of sizzling filled the air.  Nix swung the scythe at her legs, scoring a hard hit that nearly severed her right leg before he could follow up her body changed to a crimson cloud of mist and moved to one corner where a vila was fighting with one of her minions.

    When he pursued, a second vampire blocked his path.  He was bald and pale skinned with exaggerated fangs that hung down to his chin. The nails on his hands looked like small daggers and flashed toward Nix scoring a hit on his side.

    Nix raised a hand and four emerald strands shot out to encircle his target's neck.  Nix ignored him, dragging the growling creature toward the red cloud that was starting to grow thick as it absorbed the two fighters.

    /Inferno: Nix: Unsummon this Vila Min.

    Nix leaped into the air and swung the scythe horizontally, a moment later he released the minion he had been fighting.  Its head landed with a wet thump before rolling across the floor.

    Nix targeted the minion in the red cloud, it was shriveling up as if the life force was being sucked out of it.


    The minion in the cloud evaporated when the white-hot flame tore through its torso.

    "NOOOO!!" The cloud solidified into Josora, the leg that had nearly been removed looked better, but she retreated with a pronounced limp.

    /Inferno: Nix: Minions first or she'll use them to recover. Traditionally, wood through the chest and decapitation kill these creatures.

    Mina and one of her Vila were attacking a minion while the other three were protecting them from a group of four.  The Aquarion who had been swinging her staff like a club, quickly turned it and with a lunge drove it into the chest of her opponent.  The blunt end of the staff sunk into the creature's chest and with a flash of light, it turned to dust.

    "You can't ignore me Champion!"

    A screech from behind him was all the notice he needed.

    [Aura Ignition]

    Josora was wrapped in emerald tendrils, the end of the fight coming when the yellow eyes closed in.  Tremendously strong hands gripped her throat, instead of squeezing they wrenched in separate directions.  A loud shuddering crack drowned out by a scream of blood lust were her last sounds as Nix removed her head.  Her minions disintegrated upon her death.

    Mina grabbed a torch from the wall and joined him in the middle of the platform.  "We still need to find the portal out."

    Nix nodded and removed Josora's champion medal, immediately he felt a surge of strength as it disappeared before his eyes and was absorbed by his own medallion.

    [Medallion Promotion]

    [New Champion's ability: Josora's Stealth]

    A small stealth icon appeared on his hud, Nix hid his smile from Mina.  No more invisibility potions.  "Let's take a look around."

    /Inferno: Ronnie: Can I have Morti?

    /Inferno: Tess: Nope... I have dibs if Nix gives him up.

    /Inferno: Semmi: Seriously, he's a skelly destroying nightmare.

    Nix laughed and walked toward a well-lit area.  The Temple itself appeared to be designed like an old cathedral with really high ceilings.  "This would be perfect for an Air Nemesis, all this room for flying around."

    It only took a few minutes of looking before they found a large portal platform next to a set of tall doors made of bone.  The platform had the same triangular shaped stone that the one on the island had.  Mina went to open the door, while he tested the portkey.

    /Inferno: Nix: Found it.

    "Nix!"  A loud booming voice rumbled from the door as a giant black cave bear charged through. He slammed into Nix a moment later, knocking him to the ground while pushing his big head against him.

    Nix tried to frown but ended up laughing.  "Don't be such a baby Morti."  He scratched the big bear's ears.  "I hear you did really well."

    Morti moved away so Nix could get up.  "I did, we were swatting things." He sat on his enormous butt, his tongue dangling out while he panted.

    Nix stared, Morti seemed bigger.  "You grow a little Morti?"

    Morti nodded his big head.  "Sometimes I grow in sudden spurts."


    An hour later, the expedition was heading to Glory Island, Tu-Khat was standing on the deck of the Phoenix, more than happy to see the light of day again.  Shae and the rest of Inferno had been preparing to head to Wisteria, but on Nix's recommendation, they delayed their journey.

    The bodies had disappeared from the valley when they exited the portal.  It was Semmi's who decided to take the entire portal back to Glory.  They would stash it in Shae's world until they dealt with the Necromancer and took the Doppelganger Stone from him.

    The leaders of the expedition gathered in a circle around Nix.  Morti was sleeping peacefully on the deck.  Tu-Khat was thanking each of them personally.

    Nix shook the King's hand.  "We'll have to hide you on Glory while we make contact with Princess Festa."  They had decided that she was the best person to approach. Fake Tu-Khat had canceled the marriage and alliance without explaining himself.

    "It'll be war Nix."  Semmi ran a hand through her short blonde hair.  With the conspiracy and the broken treaties, this would not end peacefully.

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    Jun Li grinned at Nix.  "Well... Someone made a good impression on the Princess when we were at court.  I know just the person for this mission."

    Nix frowned at her.  "Diplomacy isn't really my thing."

    Mina had been watching quietly.  "What is your thing Nix?"

    "Setting things on fire."


    Shae and the rest of Inferno were gathered on the docks when they finally returned to Glory.  The salamander unexpectedly hugged him tight for a long moment before letting him go.  "You are always getting into trouble Nix."

    Nix laughed at her expression, "it was all good right?"

    Shae smiled sweetly, "I need your help with my cultivating again."

    Nix didn't bother to hide his grin.  "Glad to assist."

    "Nix?"  It was Semmi that noticed he was fading.

    "Nix!"  Shae shouted loudly, the panic in her voice obvious.

    The person they had been watching suddenly faded into nothing.

    [Logging Off: Colonial]
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