156 Phoenix

    [Guild chat has been disabled]

    [Personal Messaging has been disabled]

    Nix appeared in a sand-covered training area.  The immediate pressure weighing down upon him nearly drove him to his knees.

    A flash of red and he was enveloped in the strong arms of Shae, her soft lips kissing his face while her tears ran freely down her face.  "I'm sorry Nix, I wanted to see you!"

    She wore light training armor and her long red hair had been cut to her waist and then braided.  Nix should have been surprised to see that she had wings, but for some reason, he wasn't.

    "You gave me your word Shae, you can visit him for as long as he can stand on this plane." Nix recognized the face and the voice but didn't know the name.

    Nix could already feel his legs shaking.  Was the gravity different here?  Or perhaps there was some trial necessary?  He cupped Shae's face in his hands, she seemed thinner and her cheekbones a bit more pronounced.  "Archon training?"

    Shae nodded and kissed him again. "You remember this bad person?  He is Pheno Myrick."

    "She is uncommonly difficult.  I do her this favor so she would consent for the second phase of her training."  Pheno's scarred face wore a smile when he spoke, he tossed Nix a small disc.  "If the pressure of this world is too much, break this disc and you will return to your binding point."

    Nix looked at the disk and then nodded.  "I understand."

    The lovers held each other and talked in hushed tones.  Nix did his best to bring her up to speed on the latest happenings in Colonial and Oasis.  Shae mentioned that she was able to read the Parliament docket updates in the Great Library of Solomon City.

    Nix ignored the mounting pressure on his body, every breathe was a struggle.  "Is there a gate nearby?"

    Shae kissed his ear, "this is the training hall. Take a left down the long hall, there is a gate there."

    Nix caressed her face. "I'm going to let myself collapse in a minute, leave immediately after that."

    Pheno clapped loudly.  "Impressive Nix, you must be strong.  Don't be stubborn, say goodbye to your mate and then crush the stone.  You are not yet ready for this plane."

    Nix focused on Pheno.  He wore plate armor that was obviously only for training.  It was covered in all sorts of dents, gouges and scorch marks.  His wings burned with a silver flame, on his shoulder was a crest, crossed swords that were holding up a sun.

    [Your strength has improved]

    [Your stamina has improved]

    Nix's whole body shook with the effort, although he was acting some, he was pushing himself hard to remain upright.  "You're a trainer?  Show me something then, I've come all this way."

    "Hmm?  Want to learn, do you?"  Pheno's square jaw clenched slightly, the muscles running up the side of his face.  He pointed to a table on by the far wall.  "Pick up a sword from that table and bring it back to me.  If you can make it there and back, I will teach you one thing."

    Nix turned and started walking toward the table, standing had been hard enough.

    [Your strength has improved]

    [Your stamina has improved]

    [Your strength has improved]

    [Your stamina has improved]

    Nix focused on the table, sweat beaded on his head and ran down his face into his eyes.  He ignored the stinging, raising his arm to wipe it away would have cost him too much effort.  By the time he reached the table, his entire body was cramping with effort, blood ran freely down his chin where he had bitten through his lip.

    [Your strength has improved]

    [Your stamina has improved]

    [Your strength has improved]

    [Your stamina has improved]

    He gripped the sword on the table and started back, the tip of the blade dragging in the sand as he slowly made his way back to Pheno.  The surprise on Pheno's face was evident when Nix once again stood in front of him.

    Pheno sighed heavily.  "This I did not expect."  He opened a hud and operated a few menus. "I can't teach you without first registering you as a recruit and giving you a proper name."

    [You have been given the name Phoenix]

    [You have been registered as a recruit under Captain Pheno Myrick of the Solomon City Archon Knights.]

    Pheno placed a hand on Nix's head, it glowed brightly for a moment causing Nix to wince with pain.

    [You have learned Flashblade]

    Pheno pointed to a training dummy against the wall 20 meters away.  "Observe."


    Pheno's body blurred and instantly appeared next to the training dummy, the glowing blade cut the mannequin in half.

    He pointed to the dummy right next to the one he had hit.  "Manage to hit it and I won't erase your name from the list of recruits."

    Nix grimaced and raised the blade, it shook in his grasp, the hilt of it was slick with his sweat.


    Nix flashed toward the target and used his remaining strength to strike at the training dummy before collapsing to his knees.  A moment later the dummies head landed on the sand next to him with a thump.

    Nix used the blade to brace himself and stagger back to his feet.

    [Your strength has improved]

    [Your stamina has improved]

    Shae ran towards him, hugging him tight for a moment.  She kissed him and then stepped away.  "You did very well Nix, time for you to return."

    Nix shook his head.  "I'm not leaving here without you."

    Pheno shook his head.  "Damn it...You are as stubborn as she is. Break the disc I gave you."

    "No... I like it here.  Know where I can find a good inn?"  Nix's legs were shaking visibly while he spoke through clenched teeth.

    Pheno laughed loudly, a booming laugh that echoed on the training grounds. "If you pass out, the disc will break immediately and send you back."

    Shae leaned toward him and kissed his face and then walked toward the exit.  "Say hello to my friends Nix.  I can't watch any longer."

    Nix fell to his knees, his breath coming in great gasps.  "Yep... I'll tell them."

    "Not bad recruit... not bad. I'll leave you to it Phoenix, a man must learn his limits."  Pheno left him there and followed Shae.  She needed to be escorted nearly everywhere she went, the beautiful elemental was a magnet for trouble.

    Nix waited until they both left before struggling back to his feet, it took him three attempts before he made it.  As soon as he staggered into the hall he started muttering curses under his breath.  Shae wasn't exaggerating when she said it was a long way.

    By the time Nix made it to the platform, his vision was cloudy and every breath felt like a dagger being stabbed into him.  The image of his stat increases scrolled crazily the longer he walked.  Finally, after several minutes, he stepped onto the gate platform.  He saved the gate in Deep Blue's last open slot and then crushed the disc he had been given.



    He heard Pon's voice a moment before he collapsed to his knees.

    [Guild chat has been enabled]

    [Personal Messaging has been enabled]

    [You have been tempered]

    Pon helped him to his feet. "Damn boy, you're oozing blood from everywhere."


    A soft green light enveloped Nix, healing his injuries.

    Nix shook his head to clear it, it only succeeded in making him dizzy.  "A bit of training."

    Pon shook his head in disgust.  "What kind of training leaves you soaked in blood?"

    Nix smiled and gripped the Archon blade he still carried in his hand.  "The best kind."
Previous Index Next