127 Ice Queens Favor

    Most of Inferno returned to the Sea-World to get some rest.  Rhy and Nix ported to the docks, he wanted to drop off his Titanic Ape skin before heading to the Gladis Hub.  He stopped when he saw the enormous ship anchored in Glory's Bay.

    /Inferno: Nix: What's the Fire Storm doing here?

    /Inferno: Jun Li: Well.. you did blow off Festa's wedding.  It was nice knowing you.

    /Inferno: Wylie: Want a Knight Escort?

    /Inferno: Nix: I did tell her that I wasn't going.  It's not my fault she didn't listen.

    Nix talked with Nova for a few minutes while organizing the day's product. Rhylia quickly discovered several items on the shelves that she was interested in.

    By the time they left the shop, Festa was walking down the dock with a half dozen of her knights.  Nix bowed low when he saw her. "Your Majesty."

    Festa waved her hand at his greeting.  "Dispense with the title Nix. We are friends."

    Nix turned toward his companion.  "Rhy this is Festa, the Queen of the Central Kingdom.  Festa this is the Honorable Air Nemesis Rhylia Thundercloud."

    Rhy wore an amused look on her face.  "I am pleased to meet you, Queen Festa."

    Festa nodded cordially, unlike Shae, the Air Nemesis didn't give off an overwhelming sense of danger. "We are Allies, so please call me Festa."

    It was then that Nix noticed her clothes.  Normally when Festa traveled she wore the heavy armor of a Knight. This time she wore a slim-fitting blue dress that exposed her brown shoulders.  Objectively Nix rated her in the top five of Colonial beauties.  "What brings you to Glory Festa?"

    She handed him a gold-colored envelope. "I meant to give you this before my wedding.  It's an important item, please read it carefully.  I trust your judgment in this matter and will await the appointment of a proper Seneschal."

    Nix felt a twinge of guilt, Festa had always treated him well and never asked for anything in return. "I will do my best.  I'm sorry that I can't stay and properly entertain you, I'm in the middle of an important task."

    Festa's dark lips curved in a smile.  "So soon after winning the 69th level in the Embassy?"

    Nix nodded.  "Yes, I have a good friend in dire need."

    /Inferno: Nix: Donri, are you in Glory?

    /Inferno: Donri: Yes.  Something you need boss?

    /Inferno: Nix: Yes.  Could you come to the docks?

    /Inferno: Donri: Of course.

    Donri had completed the transition to Fire mage a few weeks earlier. He was the only Necrofire Mage in the Guild.  The primary path had come with some interesting changes.  His hair had turned jet-black, and his eyes had darkened considerably.  The black fire he commanded had a corrosive effect, very similar to the pain effect that Nix's emerald flames had. Nix had assigned him to accompany Nez and Sila in the Embassy whenever possible, the three managed to climb to the 46th floor without any assistance.

    Donri arrived through the portal a moment later.  He was dressed in black armor and had his long hair tied up in a topknot.

    "Festa, this is Donri, a Black Fire Mage. The only one in Inferno."

    Festa offered her hand.  "Nice to meet you Donri."

    Nix put a hand on Donri's shoulder.  "Donri has volunteered to show you around the Embassy."

    To his credit, the Fire Mage kept his face expressionless.  "Just call me Don, please"

    "That would be nice, I have a few hours before I need to return to the Palace."

    Nix smiled to himself as Donri escorted Festa away.

    "What was that about?" Semmi's familiar voice caused him to turn around.

    Nix shrugged and handed Semmi the gold envelope he had received.  "Look into this when you have the chance, Sem.  Festa came all this way to deliver it personally."

    Semmi held it in her hands, "Sure, but I'm going to be disappointed if it's a love letter."

    Nix nodded in agreement.  "Me too."

    /Inferno: Nix: Wylie, could you accompany me for an errand?

    /Inferno: Wylie: Sure Nix, you at the dock?

    /Inferno: Nix: Yep.

    "Do we need a healer Nix:" Rhy's eyes showed her curiosity.

    "No, I've something else in mind for her."

    The silver-haired Knight-Captain arrived a few minutes later, without speaking further the three of them joined hands and Nix activated Deep Blue.

    "Please don't share anything you see here Wylie. I want to keep this a secret for as long as possible."

    Wylie nodded, her eyes taking in all the changes to the hub.  "This is where the Ice Spirit of Cyphix is now?" She had heard that Nix had a history with the Ice Elemental.

    "Yes.  What better place for her than the Polar Icecap."

    All of the Acolytes were sitting on mats while Cyan demonstrated an Ice technique.  Shi was carefully observing them from her throne.  Cyan noticed his arrival and stopped her demonstration.

    Nix walked towards the Throne, the young girl sitting down stood immediately.  "Sorry, I'm a bit later than planned."

    Shi shook her head.  "It's fine Nix, even the Icecap receives Colonial messages.  Congratulations on a successful raid."

    "This is Air Nemesis Rhylia Thundercloud and Ice Champion Candidate Knight-Captain Wylie."  He felt Wylie staring at him from one side, but he refused to look at her.

    Shi bowed toward the Nemesis.  "My honor to meet a Nemesis of Air and you also candidate." The Ice elemental understood immediately, the Knight-Captain was her candidate.

    Rhy smiled at the young elemental.  "You are indeed ready to advance. The Ice advancement is usually quite gentle, I will give you the aid you require."

    She nodded.  "Thank you.  I will bring you into my elemental world if you are ready.  Nix, you will have to stay here."

    [Whisper: Shi to Nix] This Knight Captain is your recommendation?

    [Whisper: Nix to Shi] Yes. You will also be doing me a favor. The champions medallion ties her life to the temple.  This will safeguard her life.

    [Whisper: Shi to Nix] Since you asked, so it shall be.

    Cyan waited until Shi, Wylie, and Rhy disappeared before she approached Nix.  "You have my thanks once again Nix."

    Nix removed several boxes from his inventory and sat them down. "Robes for the Acolytes as well as the swimsuits you asked for.  I take it you are making use of the Aquatic Center?"  The Gladis hub was a state of the art facility that was meant for long-term inhabitance and recreation.

    Cyan nodded.  "I'm in your debt."

    Nix placed a hand on her shoulder and gave her a friendly smile.  "Since we are friends, we shouldn't talk about debts."

    /Inferno: Semmi: It's an appointment letter Nix.  Festa has asked that you elect a Seneschal to protect her family.

    /Inferno: Nix: Doesn't she have an army? Why would she ask me?

    /Inferno: Semmi: This is right up there with the attendant request.  It's something that an older brother is usually tasked with.

    /Inferno: Ronnie: Awwww.  That's so sweet!  Nix is the Queen's, big bro!

    Nix felt another twinge of guilt for skipping the wedding festivities.

    /Inferno: Nix: What are the requirements for a Seneschal?

    /Inferno: Semmi: Someone strong and trustworthy.  They'll spend a large part of their time investigating family concerns.  It's considered a royal rank, only the King and Queen may give the Seneschal orders.

    /Inferno: Pon: Send me!  I'm all those things.

    /Inferno: Sharl: Sounds like a Marshal. It could be interesting.

    Nix laughed when he saw the request. He was fairly sure the old mage had dubious intentions.

    /Inferno: Nix: Forget about it old man.  I have someone in mind.

    /Inferno: Mina: Could we have an officer's meeting Nix?

    /Inferno: Nix: Sure, it will have to wait until later in the day.  I'm on a personal errand.

    Nix followed Cyan back to his old room. "Seems like I can't escape this place."

    Cyan offered him a smile.  "It is very nice here."

    He watched as she made them tea.  There was something oddly warming about the priestess using a modern style kitchen.  Was there a real person behind Cyan? Ronnie's theory on NPCs caused Nix to constantly reexamine his NPC friends.  "I'm glad you like it."

    She sat a cup of tea in front of him and then took a seat in the adjacent chair. "How did you make it from here to Cyphix Nix?

    "Almost didn't.  I died just after I was within the cities binding range."  Nix shivered slightly, that had been a long cold few days.

    "That's 200 miles Nix. Using only clothes that you crafted here?"  Cyan had been surprised when the man had respawned on the temple platform.

    Nix sipped the hot tea and considered the journey he had made. "Yes... the sins of my past life and the thought of a new one, made me push myself past my limits."

    "You embarked on a pilgrimage.  One that tested both your spirit and your strength." Cyan leaned back in her chair.  "Through the world of Ice walks the man bathed in flames."

    "I could make the walk now without even worrying about it."

    Cyan stood up and grabbed his hand.  "Come with me Nix."

    Nix followed her down the hall to the last door on the right.  The scent of flowers traveled in her wake. "You smell nice."

    Cyan stopped at the door and knocked.  "Flora?  It's Cyan."

    They entered after a soft voice told them to enter.

    A tall woman with long brown hair stood near the window.  She was drawing something on a homemade easel. She smiled at her visitors.  "Welcome Cyan, it's nice to see you again Nix."

    Nix didn't remember her from Brahmi's palace.  There had been too many of them, and every one of them was beautiful. "Flora? We weren't properly introduced before.  Nice to meet you."

    Flora smiled and Nix became acutely aware of why she was in Brahmi's harem. "Is there a special reason for your visit?"

    Cyan nodded.  "I want to see the 'World of Ice' painting."

    Flora put down her sketch pencil and walked toward the closet near the front door.  "I put it away recently."  She rummaged for a moment before pulling out a large color painting.  It was titled 'The World of Ice.'

    Nix studied the painting that Flora had propped up on the easel. "Is that me?"  The man walking through the Ice was bathed in Emerald flames, he features were indistinct.

    Flora nodded. "After you brought us here, I dreamed of this several nights in a row.  I thought if I painted it, the dreams would stop."

    Nix studied the landscape, most of the time he had been too cold and exhausted to worry about the scenery, but there was something very familiar. 'It's very nice.  Did the dreams stop?"

    Flora nodded. "Yes."

    "It's natural I suppose.  The escape from Brahmi had been a traumatic event for everyone." The memories of losing one of the girls made Nix frown. It was a shame Brahmi could only die once.

    Something made Cyan run to the window, her eyes grew excited when they spotted Shi.  "They return Nix!"

    The cleric ran out of the door leaving the two of them alone. Flora picked up the painting and handed it to Nix.

    He accepted the painting and stowed it in his inventory.  "Thank you."  A moment later he was trotting down the hall toward the Ice Throne.

    By the time he arrived in the Courtyard Shi was once again sitting calmly on her throne.  Her appearance had changed from that of a young child to that of a girl in her late teens.  Her long white hair hung over her shoulders and there was a crown of ice on her head.  Wylie was standing next to the Throne, a Champions medallion displayed on her chest.

    "Very easy transition Nix," Rhy spoke quietly when he approached.

    Nix smiled in relief.  "Greeting Ice Lord."

    Shi returned his smile.  "Let us agree to always be familiar and not use such titles Nix.  Once again I find myself in your debt."

    Nix waved off her words. "You can ease that debt by flourishing here and growing stronger."

    A small white box appeared in her hand, she handed it to him.  "As you say.  Please accept my favor."

    Nix received the box and opened it.  Inside was an ice blue ring.

    Ice Sparrow

    Description: This is the Ice Queen's

    favor.  A unique sparrow constructed from ice.

    "It's nice."  Nix slipped it on his thumb.  "Thank you, Shi."

    "I will stay here for a while Nix." Wylie looked stronger somehow, but Nix didn't want to ask about the changes in front of the others.

    "No worries. Take a few days."


    A short while later Nix and Rhy returned to Glory.  The Air Nemesis handed him piece of paper with a list of items carefully written on it.  "All this?"

    "You are a tailor after all. " Rhy smiled and disappeared from the portal with a wave of her hands.
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