164 Training Yard

    [Training Grounds, Gemini Palace, Haven]

    Nix dug the tip of his boot into the sand floor of the training grounds. He gripped the Archon blade he had taken from Solomon City in his hand. Slowly he concentrated on pushing silver flames into it.   A moment later, the air crackled as the pale flames licked at the metal.  He held it in front of him for a moment and focused again.  Slowly emerald flames weaved into the silver, the air around the blade seemed distorted.


    NIx form blurred toward a training dummy 20 meters away.  With no effort, he cut it completely in half.

    By the time he walked back to his original spot, the training dummy respawned.

    "Let's see what else..."

    Lance: [Fire, Air, Ice]

    Summons a lance to be hurled at your enemy.

    The first throw is always a critical hit.  Damage done is

    dependent on the ESA. [Element+Strength+Agility]

    No Cool Down: Instant Cast

    "Why is Ice on there?  Won't it melt if my aura is on?"

    Nix used his hud to change the training dummy to invincible, points rating only. He closed the interface and looked back at the dummy.  "Let's see what Lance has."

    [Burning Aura]

    [Fire: Lance]

    Nix targeted the dummy and threw as hard as he could.

    "77 points out of 100... That was a generic flame."

    Nix focused on emerald flames and tried it again.

    [Emerald Fire: Lance]

    Nix hefted the spear in one hand and then threw it at the dummy.

    "88 points this time... Let's try silver."

    Nix targeted the dummy and then summoned his silver flames.

    [Silver Fire: Lance]

    He could feel the heat radiating off the spear when he threw it at the target. It seemed to fly faster than the others.

    Nix looked at the readout on his hud.  "92 out of 100.  It hits pretty hard."

    Nix took a deep breath and tried to summon a Gemini Lance.  The first three efforts were emerald lances, the next five after that was silver. There were another handful of failed attempts before he managed it.

    [Gemini Fire: Lance]

    Nix glanced at the lance in his hand.  It vibrated with a pleasant hum, but unlike the silver spear, it didn't give off a tremendous amount of heat.  He threw it at the target and then brought up his hud. Nix whistled softly, "95 out of 100. I need to practice summoning the Gemini Flame."

    "You can change the elements of the training dummies."  Elune's voice came from the entrance to the training grounds, she was giving Pon and Fajii a tour.

    "Hmm?"  Nix brought up the hud again and clicked on the training dummy, under type he found the Element menu.  With a few selections, he brought up four fire dummies.  "Thanks, Elune."

    Nix had seen that the options in Lance included both Air and Ice, but he had never summoned either one before.  "Air should be easier. We'll try that one first."

    [Air: Lance]

    Nix stared at the lance in fascination.  It had been easy to summon, it was transparent and very generic looking. He threw it at one of the fire dummies, immediately if flared up.  "God... 55 out of 100, going to put you on the shelf to collect dust."

    He moved back into place and tried to think of Ice.  The trip to Cyphix city from the Gladis hub, the impenetrable black ice that Morti broke through in Shangri.

    [Ice: Lance]

    "Damn...," the ice lance wasn't cold in his hand, nor did it start to melt when exposed to his aura. "The other Salamanders are going to laugh at me," he muttered under his breath.

    He threw it the flaming training dummy, the impact caused the flames to sputter out for a moment. "98 out of 100...  against fire."

    Nix spent a few more minutes testing out the different resistances.  Both his Air and Fire lances struggled against Fire creatures, while the Ice was King.  However, with every other resistance available the Gemini Spear far outperformed the other lances.

    Pon and Fajii had both used their Gemini stones and were doing the same as Nix, experimenting in different parts of the yard.  Within a few minutes, Wind and Semmi also arrived, there were quite a few skills they didn't use since they focused on the First Strike and Critical Chain abilities.

    Gemini Bond

    You can share stuns, critical hits

    and some skills while in range of other

    Gemini classes.

    "Hmm... "  Nix glanced at the blonde-haired thief.  "Picking locks would be nice."

    Tides of Flame: Area Effect

    A 25-meter square is bathed in

    three waves of your flames.

    Cool Down: 2 minutes

    Nix used the TrainingYard interface to bring up a squad of 12 elite training dummies.

    [Tides of Flame]

    A wave of emerald flames washed over the dummies, lighting them all on fire, a moment later a tide of silver flames scorched them, the final wave was the Gemini flame.  Nix pursed his lips as he considered the melted dummies.

    /Alpha Team: Pon: The f*ck was that spell?

    /Alpha Team: Nix: Tides of Flame.

    /Alpha Team: Pon: It used three types of flames?

    /Alpha Team: Nix: Guess so. Weakest to strongest maybe?

    Nix read the rest of his new spells.  "Balefire burst and Archon's Armor I've already used.  That only leaves Incinerate."

    Incinerate: Single Target

    Traps your target in a flaming

    cage for 3 seconds.  Adds

    a poison fire counter to the target.

    This effect cannot be resisted.

    Cool Down: 20 seconds.

    [Whisper: Ronnie to Nix] You are the best Nix!  Thanks.

    [Whisper: Nix to Ronnie: Nope, you're the best. I'm going to repurpose that library for our lifestyle crafters so make sure you clear it out.

    Nix had eaten breakfast with Hyai at the Kindled Spirit, as he was leaving he ran into Ronnie and the two of them entered the Gemini Temple together.  He has shown her where the library was and told her to take everything.  The library was nearly the size of the training yard and would give the lifestyle players a central area to work in.  It had the added benefit of being close to the portal.

    [Whisper: Mina to Nix] Can you come to visit me in the Sea-World before today's raid?

    [Whisper: Nix to Mina] I'm finishing up at the Gemini Temple now, I was thinking about relaxing with Soup.  You're welcome to join us.

    [Whisper: Mina to Nix] Okay.

    Nix took the Gemini portal directly to the Sea-World. He took a moment to change into his blue aquatic swimwear and then walked down the wharf looking for Soup.

    "Nix!"  An impossibly light female jumped on his back, he spun her around a few times and sat her down.  In a flash, Ducky dived off the dock and rejoined the water nymphs she had been playing with.

    "Thanks for meeting me  Nix."  Mina walked up behind him, she was wearing a one-piece blue swimsuit that Nix had made.  "If you're looking for Soup, she's straight ahead about 100 meters."

    Nix turned his eyes toward the water, using his hand to shield the sun, he finally spotted her.  A few minutes later, Nix pulled himself up on the Sea-Turtle.  Like his other companions, Soup's size and strength increased with his.  He helped Mina up next to him and then reclined lazily.

    They were planning to hit 9.1 at 1300 hours, so they had a few hours to relax.

    "Have I ever mentioned Matriarch Ishna?" Mina turned sideways so she could look at Nix.

    Nix felt her shift and reluctantly did the same.  Aquarions almost always required eye contact when they talked.  She'd end up climbing on top of him if he didn't turn to look at her.  "No.  I've never heard the name."

    "I was good friends with her daughters while growing up.  Although we have lost touch, I would still consider her a friend."  Mina's pale eyes watched him for a reaction.  Her wet white hair was pulled straight back emphasizing her beautiful face.

    Nix knew that Mina maintained contacts among the Aquarion race, she may even have left spies. "Why bring her up now Min?"

    "Matriarch Ishna has a small following of about thirty people.  Recently she has made clear her opinion regarding the Cai'Song Artifact."

    Nix considered her words carefully before speaking. "Let me guess, this opinion has placed her in a bad situation and she now seeks to join you."

    Mina smiled at his words. "Yes, Nix!  Isn't that amazing?  She's actually very strong, and her followers are very good fighters."

    Nix held his hand out. "May I see your Deep Blue Mina?"

    Mina nodded and placed it in his hand.  She didn't say anything when he stowed it away.

    "After we destroy the Cai'Song Artifact, I'll give it back to you.  You really don't need Deep Blue to travel around the human worlds."

    Mina frowned at him.  "What is wrong Nix?"

    "The timing is wrong. If you were watching us from the outside, what would you say regarding our recent raids in Mermaid City?" Nix understood, that Mina was trusting, but old allies surfacing only raised his suspicions.

    "I'd say that we've been unstoppable.  Beyond doubt we will destroy the Artifact."

    "Ishna contacts you now?  Why not a few months ago when we were struggling?  Or a year ago when the Souza Accord was on the run? You can trust her.  I trust you, but that doesn't mean that I have to trust her."

    "Nix, I know this person.  She's not like the other Matriarchs."

    Nix smiled and shrugged.  "I look forward to meeting her, after we destroy the Artifact."

    She stared at him for several seconds without speaking. "No matter what, I will not bring her or anyone else here without first clearing it with you."

    Nix sighed and handed her back Deep Blue. "We have a leak Min. The Elder Matriarchs that were waiting for us had prior knowledge of our actions. With the death of Cai'Song, they now fear us. I would advise against any more scouting or contacting your sources."

    Mina nodded. "We should make security adjustments."

    Nix turned on his back and closed his eyes.  "No more talking, time to enjoy the sun a bit before we have to go."

    "Okay, Nix."
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