146 Avenger Returns part one

    Mina took a seat next to Nix on the grassy riverbank and waited until the rest of the officers had left. She held up three Ricoli artifacts.  "We can use all three of these."

    Nix whistled softly. "They should have some beasts still in them, right?  Three Elder Matriarchs should have a stable of a hundred and twenty between all of them."

    Mina nodded. "There were less than half that numbered deployed to deal with us.  I guess they figured we'd be easy prey."

    "Elder Matriarchs... Why kind of beasts are we talking about?"  Nix watched her pale eyes closely, they weren't sad but there was a feeling of loneliness or perhaps isolationism.

    "My grandmother didn't deploy any of hers. They have been combined and altered to the point where I can't even guess what they are."  Mina scooted closer and slid her hand through his arm. "She was the last of my family Nix, the very last."

    Nix felt the loss suddenly, he understood the emptiness it could bring.  "She had to die Min.  Either right then or when we got to the 12th floor."

    Her white hair tickled his ear as she leaned against his shoulder. Her voice was scarcely more than a whisper.  "I wish it wouldn't have been you that did it."

    Nix felt the weight of those words, it was a while before he trusted himself to speak.  "If it hadn't been me, then ..."

    Mina started crying softly against his shoulder, her body shaking slightly while Nix embraced her.  "I know Nix, but I would have done it if it meant protecting you.  Even that, I would have done it."

    "After we destroy the artifact, do you think the Souza Accord will be able to reunite with their people?"

    "I don't know Nix.  There was a time when that question was so far away I couldn't consider it.  We're on the 7th floor and now we have the stables of three powerful Elder Matriarchs." Mina sat up and kissed the side of his face.

    "Even if they don't accept you back, the Souza Accord has a home in the Sea-World and here in Haven."

    Mina smiled.  "The name Lisa, it was your sister's name right?"

    "Yep, she was crazy funny and a talented artist."  Nix stood and helped Mina to her feet.


    Nix waved at Mina who circled once on her Manta before flying away.  After she left he brought up his hud and accessed the special menu that the Vasai Virtual Deep-Stay package came equipped with. His older sister had used the same email since she was a teenager, she might not know who Henry Jones was but she would certainly understand.


    There's a place in the VR Colonial game that sells Camden apples.  I believe it's a small town called Glory. Ask for the Innkeeper of the Kindled Spirit.


    He considered deleting the message, but in the end, he decided to send it.

    A few minutes later Nix entered the Guild Office in Parliament.  Semmi was working behind one of the desks, she had changed out of her armor and was wearing comfortable clothes.

    "Nice clothes Sem. Casual day at the office?"  Nix took a seat on the couch, the talk with Mina had sapped his motivation.

    Semmi offered him a bright smile.  "I have a personal Tailor that makes whatever I ask for."

    Nix laughed at her expression.  "You wish.  Hey Sem, explain how the Fur'Dhassi is managing to keep the guilds out of Parliament."

    Semmi spun the chair around, she had put on a green headband that kept her blonde bangs out of her eyes.  "Right... Let's start with magical barrier that surrounds Parliament first."

    "Why start there?"

    "Because I'm fairly certain the five of us who traveled through the Escalade bridge may now pass through it."  Semmi zoomed in on the desk hud.  "We are part of the Parliament Government now and as such are entitled to access just about everything that has to do with World Government."

    Nix stared at the image she had brought up.  It was the Parliament building and the surrounding courtyards.  An opaque barrier surrounded the entire complex.

    "The 70th floor of the Embassy gave us access to Parliament.  The barrier was in place to stop us from further exploration."

    Nix stared at the image, he'd been able to pass through with the Ice Sparrow when it was in puppet mode.  "Now that the five of us had crossed the Escalade bridge the barrier will no longer restrict our access?"

    Semmi nodded.  "Exactly right, There is a secondary zone set in a large circle around the barrier.  This is a neutral zone of sorts, where the Fir'Dhassi has given up their rights to govern."

    Nix felt the sudden urge to take a quick trip.  "Neutral zone my ass.  I've been there twice and both times there were assassination attempts."

    "Go beyond the neutral zone and you will be immediately discovered.  From what I've been able to gather, there are layers and layers of detection spell specifically set up for intruders."

    Nix frowned at the image.  "If we pass through the barrier, they'll realize we've crossed the bridge and figured out a way to return to the Parliament."

    "We are pretty smart, but eventually they'll put the pieces together and figure it out."

    "Damn... No binding point in Parliament, the math would say we found a way to access one." Nix punched the pillow sitting next to him on the couch.

    "Unless..."  Semmi looked like she was a bit nervous.

    "Hmm?  Unless?"

    "We have an artificer.  We can say that she made a Parliament bracer that is bound to a specific area rather than a binding point."

    Nix crossed his arms.  "Two things, first is that we don't have something like that.  It doesn't exist.  Secondly, that wouldn't cause you to look so nervous."

    Semmi squeezed out a slight smile.  "They don't have a bracer like that here.  They have no idea what Colonial has."

    Nix nodded in agreement. "That's true, they would be clueless to our artifacts."

    "Our votes give us respect here in Parliament, however, once we are outside in Oasis we would be like baby ducks. We need allies Nix, strong ones that won't upset the balance of the Dhassi races."

    "Your talking about Human Guilds."  Nix didn't hate the idea, he already had the votes which gave Inferno Political clout.

    "Let's put it aside for now.  We can talk about becoming allies with the Guilds after we destroy the artifact.  Please take me outside the barrier to the neutral zone."  Semmi turned up her smile, she was well aware that her charm was nearly irresistible.


    But only nearly.  "Nix, as part of the governing body we can ask for Parliament escorts within the Neutral zone.  It's within our rights.  Guess who heads up the Parliament guard force?"

    "It's Bael Strom, the guy we met when we first arrived on the 70th floor."

    "Damn Nix, you're a good guesser."

    "Makes sense that the Parliament security would greet the unknown newcomers."  Nix considered her words.  "Fine, get us an escort."

    Semmi jumped to her feet and clapped her hands.  "You the man Nix."  She quickly equipped her armor while walking toward the door.

    Nix hadn't moved from his spot on the couch.  "Don't you have to set up the escort?"

    Semmi grinned at him and bolted out the door.  "Already did!"

    NIx laughed at the blondes antics.  "You're like a little kid Sem."

    /Inferno: Nix: Is Morty available?  I don't want to summon him if you guys are grinding levels.

    /Inferno: Sajana: It's fine Nix, he's just keeping me company while I shop.

    By the time Nix and Semmi made their way down to the northside Courtyard, Bael Strom and three other Fir'Dhassi were waiting.

    Bael watched them as they approached, his face was completely neutral.  Inferno must have come through the Escalade bridge and somehow returned to Parliament. "You already know about the barrier.  Does this mean you can cross now?"

    Nix nodded.  "We have an artifact that can bind to any neutral area.  Since the Parliament is neutral, we were able to return."

    Semmi watched Nix for any sign that he was being untruthful.  The man was a block of ice.  "We want to see the Ain'Dhassi camp if that's okay."

    Bael nodded.  "I can take you to the entrance of their camp.  Whether or not they allow you passage is up to them."

    The three Fir'Dhassi mounted up. Bael gave him a questioning look.  "It's a long trip if you are walking."

    [Summons: Mortimer]

    Mortimer appeared an instant later, for some reason he was always on his hind legs when he arrived. He was nearly 14 feet tall and growing every day.

    "Nix!"  Morti pushed his huge head into Nix's chest.

    Nix scratched Morti's ears roughly before looking up at Bael.  "Our rides here."

    Nix gave Semmi a boost up and then climbed up behind her.  Mort's back was so wide they just sat crosslegged.  His thick fur made for perfect handgrips.

    "Hey... those are horses right?"  Morti stared at Bael's mount.  "Do they taste good?"

    Bael bowed his head.  "Greetings Titan,  I am pleased to escort one of your kind."

    "Just call me Morti... You have really good manners."

    Morti waddled after the horses, as predicted Semmi and Nix were able to pass through the barrier without any issues.  Since Morti was his spirit companion, so was he."

    The Bear had no problems keeping up with cantering horses.  Although his big body waddled from side to side, his companions enjoyed a rather comfortable ride.


    The Ain'Dhassi must have had scouts posted around there camp, by the time Bael had escorted them to the entrance, Del Tali was waiting.

    Bael bowed his head slightly.  "Greetings Serai Del Tali."

    Del offered him a genuine smile.  "Greetings Sentinel Strom."

    Bael stayed on his horse but gestured to Nix and Semmi.  "These two asked me to escort them to your camp."

    Del's blue eyes stared at the trio for a moment. "I will guarantee their safety Sentinel Strom.  You may return to your post."

    Bael nodded.  "As you say Serai.  I leave them in your care.'

    /Inferno: Semmi: Kinda feel like I just got dumped.

    /Inferno: Nix: Yep.
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