106 The Reluctant Bride

    Nix ignored the whispered words of envy from his guildmates as the Fire Storm pulled into Glory Bay.  His own FlagShip definitely wouldn't lose out to the Fire Storm, the Veranda Class ship was even bigger than a Dreadnought.

    The silver-armored Princess stepped onto the dock a few minutes later.  She was flanked by a half dozen very serious looking Knights.  She wore a smile on her face and greeted Nix as an equal.  "Well met Nix!  It's nice to see you again."  She offered him an armored glove to shake.

    Nix returned her smile.  "Welcome to Glory Princess Festa."  Nix turned to one side and motioned for Shae to come forward.  "May I present Shae Balefire, Nemesis of Fire."

    Shae nodded cordially, she wore one of the dresses that Nix had made for her. It had intricately designed red flames on darker red silk.  The Salamander wanted everything in red.  "I am pleased to finally meet you, please address me as Shae."

    Festa could feel the dormant power of the Nemesis, even royalty wanted to make a good impression.  "Thank you for inviting me Shae, since we are allies we will dispense with titles."

    /Inferno: Nix: Fajii, have Eron examine the Knight in the back row, nearest the water.

    /Inferno: Shae: Something is masking his intent.  Such foolishness.

    /Inferno: Fajii: Eron says that he is being possessed.

    /Inferno: Nix: Anything else?

    /Inferno: Fajii: He says you are worthy.

    /Inferno: Tess; I'm on it.

    Tess moved from behind the group.  Her dark red hair was tied up in a ponytail, she wore leather armor rather than the traditional robes of a cleric.  She stood beside Nix, a slight smile on her face. "Please accept the blessings of Glory Island."

    [Sacred Ground]

    A white pulse of light moved outward from the cleric. Those whose nature wasn't dark received a small strength and stamina buff.  The knight in question collapsed face-first on the ground.

    Nix frowned while the other knights tried to help him up, he was completely unresponsive.

    /Inferno: Tess: He'll be fine, This wasn't a long term control.

    Tess knelt next to the Knight, her hands running casually over his limbs, torso, neck and finally hair.  At the base of his neck was a black scarab, its pincers were embedded deep into the flesh.  She pulled in free and immediately healed the area.

    Nix took one look at the scarab and stepped in front of Festa, blocking her from the Knights.  "Festa is now under my protection.  You will stay here."

    The Knight Captain was a squat, dark man, with a short goatee and broad shoulders.  He placed a hand on his sword. "What is the meaning of this?"

    "Stand down," Festa spoke quietly but firmly. "You may escort me to their gate, but I forbid you to go any further."  She glanced at the scarab in Tess's hand.  "Please bring that with us, honorable Healer."

    Nix brought Festa into the Sea-World, immediately the Princess seemed to relax.  Her expression changing from worry to curiosity.

    "A seed world?  It's lovely."  She glanced at the cottage on the beach and the houseboats tied up on the wharf.   A man stood on the wharf, he was dressed in a dark suit of foreign fashion.

    "This way please."  Nix led her to the wharf, stopping in front of Tu-Khat who seemed to be frozen in place.

    "Tu-Khat?  Is that really you?"  Festa's dark features remained expressionless.  It was true that he betrayed their plans ten years ago.  "What did I say to you during my birthday celebration in Lohai?"

    Tu-Khat stared at her without replying.

    /Inferno: Sharl: Oh **...

    /Inferno: Nix: Be ready Tess, just in case.

    Tu-Khat cleared his throat, looking quite uncomfortable.  "You said that you would provide me with one heir and that I should never think of ever touching you again after that."

    Nix chose this time to burst out laughing.  Apparently Ronnie had been holding it in also and was unable to contain herself.  The two of them laughed at Tu-Khat's words.

    /Inferno: Jun Li: Nix...

    Nix bit down a chuckle but didn't bother to hide the grin on his face.  "Sorry... that was some funny **."

    Festa's dark lips curved in a smile.  "That's exactly what I said."

    A short while later, the officers of Inferno along with the Royal couple were sitting in a circle on the deck of Nix's houseboat.

    "This could spark a war, I'm reluctant to have it come to that."  Festa voiced two concerns, the imposter on the Wisteria throne and all-out war.

    "We'll go in quiet and change everything."  Nix smiled and spent the next few minutes laying out his plan.  Only King Brahmi and the Necromancer knew about the switch.  They could ignore Brahmi and deal with the Necromancer.  Once the Dark Mage was dead, they could swap in the real Tu-Khat and only Brahmi would know the difference.

    Festa leaned back in her seat, her dark eyes watching Nix.  "Brahmi will keep his mouth shut, especially if we decide to keep to our original plans and unite the three kingdoms."

    "Two teams then, one to handle the imposter, King.  The second to protect Tu-Khat and put in him in place after the Necromancer is dealt with.

    Jun Li nodded in agreement.  "I'll head up the second team.  Ronnie, Gypsy, and Semmi with me."

    Nix cast a sideways glance at Shae who nodded.  "I'll take Shae, Tess, and Wind."

    [Whisper: Mina to Nix]  Why am I being left out again?

    [Whisper: Nix to Mina] You aren't, I have a mission for you.

    "Shall I return to Lohai?"  Festa had verified Tu-Khat's identity, there wasn't much left for her to do.

    Nix shook his head, "I'd feel better if you remained here as my guest until the mission is complete."

    Festa's eyes wandered to the scarab that Tess had placed on the small table.  Necromancers used them to create walking zombies.  The person could obey simple directions and perform basic tasks, everything that he heard and saw while being dominated would be seen by the owner of the scarab. "Perhaps that would be for the best.  Rhanos is the name of the Knight that was infected. It had to have been someone in the palace."

    Tess nodded in agreement.  "He was infected sometime in the last four hours."

    Nix stood and picked up the scarab.  According to Tess, it was no longer a threat, he handed it to Mina.  "Take Fajii, Milat, and Zhava. Infiltrate the palace and track down the source. I'm assuming Eron can find the culprit."

    A soft voice spoke from Fajii's shoulder.  "Of course."

    Festa reached in her belt and pulled out a small token.  "This shows you are in my personal service.  If you are discovered, present this and they will ignore your actions."

    Mina stowed the token. "I'm assuming we aren't bringing this person back for questioning?"

    "Correct.  Eliminate the threat and return immediately.  Let me know when you are safe."  Nix took a quick look around the deck.  "Questions?"


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    Three small teams stood next to the Dock portal.  Jun Li's team was escorting Tu-Khat, they would leave last.  Nix's team would deal with the Necromancer and Mina's group would find the scarab owner and relieve them of their life.

    [Whisper: Mina to Nix] Be careful Nix.

    [Whisper: Nix to Mina] Remember this is an infiltration mission in friendly territory.  Surrender is the best option if you are caught.  We shouldn't kill our allies and I don't want anything to happen to you.

    [Whisper: Mina to Nix] I will do as you say.  Be safe.
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