206 Planar Trial: Chiba

    Nix gated back to the Gemini Temple and then walked toward his Ranch house.  He resummoned Soup, Ducky, and Fey when he passed the fishing spot, it had become their favorite place to hang out.  Morti was snoring peacefully on the grass, after scratching the Titan cub's ears he continued toward the house.

    He pushed his front door open a few minutes later, it cracked open a few inches before stopping.  "The hell is this?"  Nix squeezed his head through the crack only to find two Arch Wind sleeping against the door.  He managed to enter into this living room without waking them up.

    There were bodies everywhere, the sound of snoring coupled with the smell of stale beer told Nix everything he needed to know.  Someone had thrown a party.  A voice could be heard humming from the dining room so Nix carefully stepped over and around his sleeping guildmates until he found the source.

    Vooni sat at the table, her head propped up under one hand while she sang quietly.  Shae, Fajii, and Hyai were all sleeping face down on the table.  "You're back!  Welcome..."  Her words were slurred slightly.  "I've figured out three things!"

    Nix bent over the table and helped Vooni to her feet.  "Let's get you to a proper bed Captain.  What did you figure out?"

    Vooni leaned heavily against him while they went up the stairs.  "The first is you don't have eleven wives, only four..."

    Nix didn't comment, Vooni was about three times heavier than someone her size should have been.  "That number seems a bit high. Note to self, don't drink with dragons."

    Vooni nodded in agreement against his shoulder.  "Foolishness for sure.  Where was I?  Oh yeah, second is that your friends really care about each other.  Inferno shares a deep bond of trust."

    Nix laughed at her antics while using his butt to open the guest bedroom door.  "What's the third thing?"

    Voon collapsed face down on the bed, before rolling onto her side.  "I really like that lifestyle player, Rico something... He promised to make me some nice things."

    "....." Nix.

    He spent the next few minutes laying Shae, Fajii, and Hyai across the bed in his room.  It was the only bed in house large enough for three people, he tossed a blanket over them and closed the door quietly.  "Seems like I missed a big party."

    A few minutes later Nix walked out onto the balcony, it was here that he remembered one of the effects of the planar trial was an easy transition between forms.

    Nix has activated his bloodline.

    [Third Form: Archon]


    [8 years earlier: Solomon City Academy, 2 days before the Trials]

    "Well, well, well... What have we here?  A tiny albino rat."  The Aquarion man's voice sounded unpleasant, like gravel sliding down a metal sheet.

    The white-haired girl said nothing, both of her daggers were drawn and her weight was on her toes, ready to move.  Her sharp pink eyes seemed to watch everything at once.

    "Hmm... Starting trouble with Master Beta?"  The voice was smooth and sexy like warm velvet. The speaker was a tall blonde with piercing green eyes.  She was known in the academy as the 'Crude Beauty,' her personality seemed like it should belong to a dirty old man rather than the Academy's number one beauty.

    "I'm fine Chiba, there's no need to involve yourself further." Beta rolled her eyes at the nickname.  The beauty was known for two things in the Academy, her ridiculously crude sense of humor and a silver blade that vanquished everyone she faced.

    "Only two are allowed to take the trial!  Why must I wait because her standing is higher than mine?" Bikto scowled at the swordmaster, he already knew that she wasn't someone they could handle.  "I already have a spot in the House of Aquarion, you are treading dangerously Chiba."

    "It's your bad luck to be in the same class as us Big-Toe." Chiba laughed at him while drawing her blade, it made a dangerous hiss when she pulled it from the scabbard.  "Shall we negotiate?"

    Bikto as his companions backed away slowly, their hands held high.  Chiba often solved her problems by removing them completely.  "There is no reason for that."

    Beta scowled at the Aquarions when they walked away.  "I would have killed Bikto, the other two would probably have run."

    Chiba put her sword away and threw an arm around the white-haired girl.  "I know it little Beta!  Let's wrap this up."

    "I think I prefer the ring version of you better Chiba."  Beta smiled shyly, although the blond often said embarrassing things, it also made her more approachable.

    Chiba slipped a plain copper ring onto her finger.  Immediately her face and body shifted.  The blonde hair turned gray, the feminine curves faded away and the beautiful face became dog-butt ugly.  "Beauty is only skin deep!"

    Beta laughed and nodded.  "Where did you ever get such a thing?"

    The old ugly face cracked into a smile.  "The women of my family are cursed with beauty, my father procured this for me when I was a teenager."

    Beta nodded sagely, Chiba had told her that she had been courted by Kings.  "Are you scared of the trials?"

    Chiba shook her head. "No need, do your best and your destiny will present itself."

    Beta stared at the old woman for a moment, before a smile cracked on her pale face.  "You say the dumbest things, Chiba."


    [2-Days later, Solomon City, Planar Trial]

    "Who are you?"  Chiba pushed an errant strand of blond hair out of her face.  She spent the morning fighting through her planar trial, only to find two Aquarions blocking her path.

    "You don't need to know human.  Break the token, your trial has ended." The two men looked enough like each other to have been brothers.  The blue liquid swirling around their wings marked them as Archons.

    "Turn back?"  Chiba smiled pleasantly, the sound of her sword being drawn stopped them from conversing further.

    The blond drew her blade and slashed with one lightning-fast movement, a gash opened up on the nearer Archon's throat.  He dropped his blade and clutched his throat with both hands.  Chiba kicked him to the ground and stepped over him.  She already knew that if they dared use an Archon skill, one of the Breach Commanders would investigate.

    The remaining Aquarion stabbed at her with a long trident, Chiba tapped the tri-pointed weapon to one side and put a nice slice down the side of his face.

    [Ice Sculptor]

    A look of horror briefly crossed Chiba's pretty face when she lost control of her body.  There had been three of them, a trident stabbed deep into her abdomen, knocking her to the ground.  Her breath came in great gasps when the Aquarion pushed the tips through her and into the path beneath.

    "Finish her quickly so we can leave!  I didn't use an Archon skill, but they might investigate the use of Aquarion Magic."

    Chiba turned and stared at the female Aquarion, imprinting her image forever. "I'll see you again."  The beautiful blond disappeared a moment later, her planar trial ending in failure.

    [Embassy Planar Trial: Chiba]

    The ugly old woman stalked the halls, the silver blade she held in her hand ran red with the blood that she didn't bother to wipe off.  She wore the green House of Inferno armor.

    "Come on!  Chiba has come back for more!"  The swordmaster took everyone she could find, groups of twos, threes, or even fours; it didn't matter.  "He has given me a chance at vengeance... and I shall have it."

    She trotted down the last unexplored corridor, there were two archers and a mage waiting for her.

    [Sword Throw]

    Her silver sword flashed and impaled itself hilt deep in the mage's forehead,  both archers immediately opened fire on her.

    [Ghost Step]

    Chiba nimbly stepped around the arrows that seemed to slow when she approached. She pulled her sword free of the mage and with one smooth motion removed the head of the nearest archer.

    The archer gasped in horror when the old woman blocked an arrow fired at point-blank range, her blade stabbed through his heart a moment later.

    [Planar Trial Passed: Swordmaster Chiba]

    The old woman disappeared from the trial and looked down at the stone she was standing on.  A pair of silver crossed swords was neatly etched into it.  She fingered the ring that she hadn't removed in nearly a decade, slowly she collapsed to her knees and cried.

    [Foundation Stone accepted 4/5]
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