103 Revisiting the Hub

    Dawn eased in quietly, the soft sound of surf charging up the beach before retreating gracefully while the warm sun slowly pushed back the chill of night.  Nix licked his lips, his mouth felt like it had grown fur.  A soft body next to him snuggled closer and so he decided to put off waking for a bit longer.

    Soft, wet kisses on his face woke him up the second time, he opened one eye, finally noticing that he was sleeping outside.  Ducky's smiling face was staring down at him.

    "Morning Ducky."

    She was in her Siren form and so answered easily.  "Welcome back Nix.  We really missed you."

    "Where's Morti?" Nix moved a stray red hair out of his face, Shae was still sound asleep.

    Ducky seemed confused by the question.  "You are sleeping on him."

    "Huh?"  Nix sat up slowly, a large empty jug of ale rolled off his lap.  Morti was sleeping on the dock, both Nix and Shae were curled up under a blanket, lying peacefully on the bear's enormous back.  He tried not to laugh while he carefully removed himself from the Salamander's grip and the warm bear bed.  "At least I'm dressed."

    Nix stretched and walked to the edge of the dock.  Just about everyone seemed to be using Morti as a pillow or a bed.  He removed his armor and switched to his aquatic gear.  The water looked too inviting, a shallow dive with the smallest splash woke him up the rest of the way.  Almost immediately Soup found him and Nix latched on his shell for a ride.

    After playing with the sea turtles for a while, Nix lay across Soup's back while it made its way toward the beach.  Tu-Khat was still there, and Nix wanted to talk to him.

    Since Nix's departure, Tu-Khat had remained incognito at the beach cottage.  He had been growing steadily more frustrated by Inferno's refusal to act until their Guild Leader returned.  Nix was just leaving the water when Tu-Khat left the cottage.

    Nix held up a hand to stall his first question.  "I'll call a meeting of my officers this afternoon and we'll figure out the best course of action regarding fake Tu-Khat."

    Tu-Khat nodded, his face showing relief.  "Of course. Thank you and welcome back Nix."


    An hour later Nix was in his shop working on the day's product.  Nova kept the shop open, even though there hadn't been anything to sell in 10 days.  The rest of the shops owned by the members of the Gladis Hub had also been empty.

    [Whisper: Semmi to Nix:] You're at your shop?  What are we going to do regarding the folks from Gladis Hub?

    [Whisper: Nix to Semmi] We are going to wait.  Darsi will be here soon, she should know about the others.

    [Whisper: Semmi to Nix] We having a meeting?

    [Whisper: Nix to Semmi] Yep, first I have some business to tend to.

    He found his favorite Inn Keeper a few minutes later, in the kitchen of the Kindled Spirit, prepping for lunch.  Nix rolled up his sleeves.  "What can I do?"

    Hyai favored him with a smile and pointed to a sack of potatoes.  "Peeling duty suit you?"

    Nix nodded,  "yep.  I can do it."

    Hyai worked across from him, every once in a while she would glance over at the ever-growing stack of peeled potatoes.  "My daughter invited me over for dinner tonight.  Want to come?"

    Nix glanced up from his task.  "Did they get settled somewhere close?"

    Hyai nodded, "a nice place near the south wall."

    "Count me in.  What time?"  Nix stopped peeling and began cutting up the potatoes before tossing them into a large pot.

    A half-hour later Hyai made him leave but not before packing him a boxed lunch.  "Dinner will be around 1800, we can walk together if you like."

    "Yep... Cya then."

    /Inferno: Nix: Meet at Guild Hall in half an hour.  Come with some options regarding Tu-Khat.

    Mina was waiting for him when he arrived at the Guild Hall a few minutes later.  The Aquarion had been acting odd since his return.  She offered him a smile in greeting when he sat next to her.

    They sat in awkward silence for a few minutes before Nix finally caved. "What's going on MIn?

    The Aquarion grabbed his hand and held it tightly, but didn't offer any explanation.  She hadn't offered him much of a greeting the night before, the odd behavior seemed out of place for her.

    "It's fine if you don't want to say Min. Take your time."

    The members of Inferno slowly filtered in over the next few minutes.  Jun Li and Sharl were the last to arrive, they were chatting amiably when they walked in together.

    /Inferno: Nix: Nice to see everyone.  I wanted to touch base quick on a few topics.  The first thing, of course, is Tu-Khat.

    /Inferno: Semmi: He's important not only because he's the King of Wisteria, but also he's a key part of the Onion Quest.

    /Inferno: Nix: I'll pay an unofficial visit to Princess Festa today. From that, we'll decide on the next step.

    /Inferno: Semmi: He's been patient up until now.  We can't hide him here forever.

    /Inferno: Jun Li: Any word from Darsi?  Or the other crafters from the hub?

    Nix popped up out of his chair suddenly. "Damn..."

    Semmi stood up slowly also.  "Something up Nix?"

    "Yep, please join hands."  Nix extended his free hand since Mina hadn't let go of him yet.  After everyone had complied he activated Deep Blue and chose the  Gladis Hub.

    A moment later 20 members of Inferno stood on the platform of the Gladis hub.

    /Inferno: Ronnie: Where is everyone?

    /Inferno: Sharl: Completely empty?

    /Inferno: Nix: Spread out and search.

    Nix brought up his hud and sent everyone a copy of the old map they had used for their last 'Gladis Shopping' trip.

    /Inferno: Nix: Take everything, we will restock the shops on the dock, and try to keep them open until our guildmates return.

    /Inferno: Semmi: What if they don't return?

    /Inferno: Nix: Some of them may be delayed for quite some time. If too much time passes, we can lease their shops out on a short term basis.

    Nix returned to the last place he had visited in Gladis, Darsi's work area.  As an artificer, her work was probably the most valuable of all the crafters.

    Semmi followed him since she was familiar with the shop also.  She glanced at the bins, "looks like they were just finishing up. None of the products has been moved."

    /Inferno: Ronnie: Jackpot... Why bother raiding anymore when we can just come here?

    /Inferno: Nix: Take everything, we don't have to tiptoe around Gladis in Colonial anymore.

    Nix whistled softly.  "Darsi made some nice accessories.  Check this out, Sem."

    Shadow Ring

    Unique: Crafted

    Description: Increases the effectiveness

    of stealth abilities.

    Semmi held out her hand, a smile showing on her pretty face. "Can I have that?"

    Nix tossed it to her before he removed the entire bin and placed it in his inventory.  "Useful?"

    Semmi nodded, "Any mob that's higher level than me has a chance to see through or break my stealth.  Stealth modifiers are valuable."

    "Oh... that's right."

    [Josora's Stealth]

    Nix vanished in front of Semmi's eyes.

    "Did you pick up a support skill?" Semmi reached out and touched him.

    "No, my Champions medallion leveled up. I received one of Josora's abilities as a result."

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    Semmi snorted, "such a cheat Nix."

    He dropped his stealth and moved to the next bin, it was empty except for a single item. Nix held it up to show his companion.  "Is this an earring?"

    Semmi moved closer. "Hmm... yep. Instead of  attaching with a clasp through a piercing, this clips on the earlobe and hangs down."  She put it on to demonstrate.  "Can I have this?"

    Nix shook his head.  "It's a present for someone."  He laughed at the face she made.  "Very mature."

    He examined it closer when she begrudgingly handed it back.

    Deep-Sea Trident

    Jewelry: Unique

    Description: Summons the weapon of

    the sea.

    "It's a weapon?"  He clipped it on his ear and activated it.

    [Deep-Sea Trident]

    A long trident with wickedly sharp barbs appeared in his hands.  He waved it a few times in the air, surprisingly it was light.

    "Damn it Nix... Give me that!"  Semmi tried to snatch the earring from his ear but he moved away.

    Nix laughed at her and quickly stowed the earring away.  "I told you it's a present."
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