195 The CaiSong Artifact part one

    Nix led Inferno back to the 12th-floor staging area.

    /Inferno: Nix: I want all hands on deck, Alpha Team, and our Aquarion members.  I want everyone prepared to enter the last stage even if they don't meet the requirements. If you're a fighting member of Inferno, then report to the 12-floor staging area.

    /Inferno: Semmi: Understood boss, we're on our way.

    /Inferno: Jun Li: Can we get Alpha Team into the last stage?

    /Inferno: Nix: Just about everyone in the guild shares a spiritual bond with one of our Aquarion allies. Perhaps we can summon them in, doesn't hurt to try.

    /Inferno: Jun Li: Are we going to unbank?

    /Inferno: Nix: If the last stage is 'one and done,' then I'm going to have someone attempt it.  If they don't get booted out, I'll give the green light. It won't be mandatory, though.

    /Inferno: Ronnie: Who is doing 12.5?

    /Inferno: Jun Li: 12.5 is a ten-person instance.  Here's the raid sheet.

    Banzi: Tank

    Sharl: Tank

    Nezbit: Heals

    Sajana (Pinkie): Heals

    Sila: CC

    Rhylia: CC

    Zhava: DPS

    Dalton: DPS

    Darsi: DPS

    Chael: DPS

    /Inferno: Nix: If you aren't in this raid, stay here and prep for 12.6. Lunch will be here in about an hour.  It's going to be a long day, but a good one.

    [1100 hours: 12th Floor Staging Area]

    /Inferno: Sharl: We're going in, keep my lunch warm.

    /Inferno: Ronnie: Good luck, sis.

    [Whisper: Jun Li to Nix] The sixth stage is a 5 person group instance.  Are you going in?

    [Whisper: Nix to Jun Li] Yes.  How big is the last stage?

    [Whisper: Jun Li to Nix] It says, 20 people.  I'm trying not to freak out Nix...

    [Whisper: Nix to Jun Li] No worries, Inferno doesn't know how to fail.

    [Whisper: Jun Li to Nix] Who should I put on the next group?

    [Whisper: Nix to Jun Li] We need a fast and strong group.  You, me, Ronnie, Milat, and Tess on heals.

    /Inferno: Jun Li: Here's the group that's doing the 6th stage.

    [Raid Sheet for 12.6]

    Jun Li: Tank

    Tess: Heals

    Nix: CC

    Mina: DPS

    Ronnie: DPS

    Nix sat patiently on the floor next to Mina and Milat.  He could tell that Milat was angry with her, but he wasn't voicing it.  Lot's of familiar faces continued to arrive via the 12th-floor staging platform.  Hyai, Shae, and Fajii came through together, their hands filled with boxes.

    "Lunch is here. Come on, Min."  Nix pulled her up and walked toward the three women carrying boxed lunches.

    Hyai was already passing them out when he arrived; she smiled when she saw him. "The bottom one is for you, Nix."

    "Let me help."  Nix grabbed the remaining boxes and started handing them out; the last one had his name on it.  "This one different than the rest?"

    Hyai nodded.  "Of course, I made it just for you."

    "Thanks, that's sweet." Nix handed her a small stone from his inventory.  "I want you to have this.  It's a Djinn that dropped from the Gemini Temple."

    Djinn: Fire Lord

    Description: A powerful Fire Ally

    from the Gemini Temple.

    Hyai examined the stone, her lips curved in a smile.  "For my protection?"

    Nix nodded. "I know you'll be safe, but it pays to be prepared."

    "Thanks."  Hyai stowed it away and then started equipping her gear.

    "What are you doing?"  Nix watched as she put on some worn Red leather gear, an open-faced helm with horns completed the picture.  He had never seen her wear armor; it made her legs look longer.

    Hyai pulled out a long red staff with a ruby set into the end.  "All hands on deck, Level 47 Fire Mage reporting for duty."

    /Alpha Team: Semmi: Your mouth is open Boss.

    Nix closed his mouth and blinked a few times.  "Thank you for your support."

    "I will fight for you and my friends." Hyai gave him a sexy smile.

    /Alpha Team: Wind: Damn... Was she that hot yesterday?

    Nix nodded, "if I need your help, I won't hesitate."

    She broke her own rule and leaned in for a quick kiss.  "We have a nice vacation planned once we get through this."

    Nix opened his boxed lunch, the smell of roasted venison distracting him.  "We do?"

    "Yes." Hyai waved and moved toward the next group.

    Sharl and her team finished the 12.5 in just over an hour.  Nix and his team took a moment to congratulate them and then moved into the sixth stage.


    [1215 hours: 6th Stage]

    /Inferno: Jun Li: Scout around Nix.

    /Inferno: Nix: I'm on it.

    Nix stealthed and swam off of the platform.  There was only one hall, so he kept near the ceiling as he moved down it.  The corridor opened into a large rectangular room that had two exits on opposite walls.  There was a large control panel with a half dozen levers.  Both doors had bars across the doorways.

    [You've changed to group chat]

    /Group: Nix: Follow the hall; there's a control room and two exits.

    The rest of the group entered the control room a few moments later.

    /Group: Jun Li: Who is going to operate the levers?

    [Summons: Ducky]

    /Group: Nix: Mina will do it.

    The Aquarion leader looked a bit surprised at the nomination but nodded in agreement.  Her and Nix already discussed Mina's Sea-Beast stable; she absolutely couldn't afford to lose any beasts in this instance.

    /Group: Mina: I'm on it.

    /Group: Nix: Open the west gate, and I'll scout it out.

    Nix moved to the door and waited while Mina started activating levers, it opened almost immediately, and Nix flashed through with Ducky following behind.

    The next room was filled with a dozen Sea-Beasts and one Matriarch. There was one barred exit on the far side of the room.

    [Tides of Flame]

    Nix ignored the shark-like beasts and attacked the Matriarch directly.


    His sword stabbed deeply into the Aquarion's side. He slashed her a half dozen times while her beasts went into a fire-induced frenzy.  A minute later, he pulled the Ricoli artifact off the corpse's wrist; nothing was left alive in the room.

    /Group: Jun Li: You fighting stuff, Nix?

    /Group: Nix: Just a Matriarch and a handful of sea-beasts.  Nothing to worry about.

    /Group: Jun Li: The east side door is open, we'll leave Mina here and go through.

    /Group: Nix: I'm at a barred gate, go slow Min, I'll call out when it opens.

    Nix waited several seconds, the sounds of gates opening and slamming shut could be heard in the distance, finally, his door opened also.

    /Group: Nix: That's it!

    Nix entered the next room, there was a stairway going up. It opened out onto a huge balcony, on the far end he saw Jun Li and her group enter.

    /Group: Jun Li: Three Water Lords on the platform below.

    /Group: Nix: Awesome, I love those things.

    There were two open gates behind the Water Lords, two separate groups of Aquarions were randomly walking in and out of the room.

    /Group: Jun Li: Try moving two levers at a time now, I'll tell you when to start and stop.

    /Group: Mina: Okay. I'm ready.

    The first group of roaming Aquarions exited through the open gate.

    /Group: Jun Li: Now Mina!

    Nix didn't hear any doors moving, after about five seconds the door they were watching slammed shut.

    /Group: Jun Li: Stop!  Now wait a moment, don't touch those two levers again."

    The second group came into the room and then tried to exit through the closed gate when they couldn't get out they turned and exited the room through the door they entered through.

    /Group: Jun Li: Now!

    Immediately the gate slammed shut, completely isolating the three Water Mages in the room below.

    /Group: Jun Li: Stop!  That's perfect.

    /Group: Nix: Can you join us?  Or are you stuck?

    /Group: Mina: Stuck.

    [Sniper's Nest]

    Ronnie has settled down into a stable firing position.

    Nix swam down from the balcony, having no fear of three Water Lords.  "Ducky, charm the far left one."

    /Group: Jun Li: We'll take the far right, make your move Nix!

    Nix raised one had and six emerald flame strands shot out to encircle the middle Lord's waist, pinning his arms to his sides.

    Ducky has charmed Feli Rov

    [First Strike]

    Jun Li has landed a critical strike on Inuk Woha.

    [Gemini Flame: Lance]

    Nix held the middle mage and stabbed at Jun Li's target instead of throwing it.  He pushed forward and pinned the Mage against the wall.


    Ronnie has landed a critical hit on Inuk Woha.

    Inuk Woha has been mortally wounded.

    [Critical Chain]

    Nix has followed up Ronnie's strike with a critical hit.

    Inuk Woha has been slain.

    [Trueshot: Burst]

    Ronnie has scored a critical hit on Stu Bilic.

    Ronnie has scored a critical hit on Stu Bilic.

    Ronnie has scored a critical hit on Stu Bilic.

    [Critical Chain]

    Jun Li has followed up Ronnie's strike with a critical hit.

    Stu Bilic has been slain.

    With his target down, Nix targeted the charmed Water Lord.

    It dropped to the ground a minute later, leaving the four members on the platform by themselves.

    /Group: Mina: There's a chest here, don't worry about any of the other mobs.

    /Group: Nix: On our way back.

    Nix led the group back up to the balcony and waited while Mina reopened the doors leading back.

    Nix quickly looted the chest, glancing at his hud to check out the time.

    A Flame Whip has been added to your inventory.

    An Inferno Bow has been added to your inventory.

    A Volcanic Robe has been added to your inventory.

    /Group: Nix: Doesn't 12.6 seem a bit easy for the next to last stage?

    /Group: Mina: Yes.


    [1400 hours: 12th Floor Staging Area]

    /Jun Li: This is a 20 person raid.  Basically we are utilizing just about everyone and some of our Aquarion friends.  I'm delegating a Command Group, and I'll put a healer in every group after that.  Our last group doesn't have a tank, but it has two healers so you should be fine.

    [Command Group]

    Jun Li: Tank

    Tess: Healer

    Nix CC

    Ronnie: DPS

    Mina: DPS

    Group 2

    Sharl: Tank

    Gypsy: Healer

    Rhylia: CC

    Moki: DPS

    Dalton: DPS

    Group 3

    Banzi: Tank

    Nezbit: Heals

    Wylie: DPS

    Darsi: DPS

    Sila: CC

    Group 4

    Tyrant: DPS

    Sanjana: Pinkie: Heals

    Milat: DPS

    Zhava: DPS

    Saji: Back-up Heals

    /Inferno: Nix: We are heading in.  Everyone stay close.  If we need to unbank, we will let one person try it to see what happens.  Also, we'll be summoning all our spirit companions once we're in.

    Nix grabbed Mina's hand.  "Don't worry. I'd never let you down."

    Inferno ported into the last stage of the 12th floor together.  Unexpectedly, it was an air zone.

    /Inferno: Jun Li: Why would the last stage of Mermaid City be an air zone? Good heavens...

    /Inferno: Sharl: We're f*cked.

    /Inferno: Semmi: What?  What is it?

    /Inferno: Ronnie: Now we know why the last three stages seemed too easy.

    Nix stared at the battlefield.  There were thousands of armed Aquarions and humans between them and a large platform.

    /Inferno: Jun Li: Thousands... There are thousands of them.

    Mina stared at the distant platform in shock. There was no way to win against these kinds of numbers.  "Nix...  All this time and we fail here?"

    /Inferno: Semmi: Thousands of Aquarions? How is that fair?

    Nix scowled at the three blue-winged Aquarions circling the distant artifact. The army between them and the Cai'Song Artifact was bad enough, he felt their chances of victory slipping away.

    /Inferno: Nix: Three Archon class Aquarions... That's why it's an air zone, so they can fly.

    /Inferno: Shae: Archons?  Nix are you sure?

    /Inferno: Nix: Yes.

    /Inferno: Jun Li: If we leave now we lose the chance forever

    /Inferno: Nix: Call in all your Spirit Companions.  I'm not going anywhere without killing ** first.

    [Summons: Ducky]

    [Summons: Fey]

    [Summons: Mortimer]

    /Inferno: Shae: Call me in Nix!  If they have Archons, then I'll fight too!

    /Inferno: Ronnie: I'm unbanking!

    A light formed around Ronnie for several seconds while her levels shot up.  The dark beauty howled when it was done.  The rest of the force waited for a minute to see if she'd be kicked out, but she wasn't.  A moment later the entire platform lit up with the effects of everyone unbanking.

    Nix watched the group and then studied the battlefield. He placed a hand over his chest and concentrated on Shae.  A moment later she appeared next to him.

    "I shouldn't be allowed in this instance, perhaps there is a special circumstance."  Two flaming swords appeared in her hands.  "Nix?"

    "Hmm?"  He glanced at her, then noticed that everyone was staring at him.  "What?"

    /Inferno: Jun Li: You're the only one who hasn't unbanked.

    /Inferno: Nix: Oh... Right, sorry I forgot.

    Nix felt the power gathering around him the moment he released the lock on his bank. Rhylia threw up an Air Shield to protect those nearby.  His feet left the ground and waves of power surged from him in all directions.  It lasted for nearly a minute before he landed once again on the platform.

    Nix: Archon

    [Hidden Class Detected.]

    [Archon Subclass: Breach Commander]

    A giant hud popped up with a holographic view of the battlefield. Nix stared at it in shock.

    [Breach Commander Deployment Menu]

    Available Allies

    1) Alpha Team

    2) Colonial Knights of Glory

    3) Souza Accord

    4) Fire Palace Acolytes

    5) Earth Temple Acolytes

    6) Air Palace Acolytes

    7) Gemini Palace Acolytes

    8) Central Kingdom: 1st Regiment Archers

    9) Ain'Dhassi: Inferno Ranger Company

    10) Broyan Alliance: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Regiments

    11) Captain Vooni's Fire Team

    12) 12 Pillar Alliance

    13) Miscellaneous Friends

    Nix's smile took them all by surprise.

    /Inferno: Nix: Stand by for some back-up.
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