212 Gemini Temple: The Lower Levels. part one

    Nix baited his hook, the loud snoring of Morti and the wind blowing through the long grass was the only sound in the early morning.  Vooni and Fajii left for Solomon City at dawn to start her training.  Unable to go back to sleep, he decided to drop a line in the water.  His thoughts strayed to the Scorched Earth Mage; he was worried about her.  "Those clowns in Solomon City better leave her alone."

    [Whisper: Cyan to Nix] Could you contact Shi at your convenience Nix?

    [Direct Contact: Shi]

    A life-size holo of Ice Lord Shi popped up in front of Nix.  She seemed shocked at first but adjusted very quickly.

    "Nix!  It's good to see you again."

    "I agree.  Thank you for your help with the Cai'Song Artifact."

    She waved her hand, her pale face blushing slightly.  Since Shi ranked up, her appearance was that of a young woman in her teens.  Although she was an Ice Lord, her personality was quite warm. "You had an entire army Nix, I've never seen such a thing."

    "Cyan asked me to contact you.  Is there something you need?"

    "My acolytes have been discussing your pilgrimage from this place to Cyphix; the distance is a bit over two hundred miles."

    Nix smiled slightly, although it was a hellish few days, it was a memory he cherished.  "What about it?"

    "They want to retrace the path you walked, making a holy pilgrimage from here to Cyphix. I worry about their safety."

    [New Group Quest Available: Upper Tier]

    Pilgrimage to Cyphix

    An essential figure in the Temple of Ice once embarked on an impossible journey to free himself from captivity.  Escort the Acolytes of the Ice Temple while they retrace the Path of Ice.

    Reward: Ice Feather.

    Description: A great Ice

    Phoenix once roamed the

    area. This feather has many


    Nix read the Quest, unsure what to think.  "Even under ideal circumstances with proper supplies, it could be a dangerous journey.  I will assign a team to escort them if that's acceptable."

    "Yes, of course, Nix.  Thank you." Shi favored him with a smile, "we look forward to the arrival of your team."

    Nix fished for a few hours, enjoying the peace of the early morning; until the sound of hoofbeats caused him to turn.  Flash was running nearby, the demon mare, and a few others were following him.  Nix fished an apple out of his inventory and walked toward them.  Right away, the ears of the demon horse pricked forward, her nostrils flaring at the smell.  With a bit of coaxing, she approached and took the apple.

    "You wrote the book on playing hard to get."  He patted her neck gently while speaking to her in a soothing voice.  "Let's go for a ride."

    After walking her back to the stables, Nix saddled the demon horse and climbed up.  Right away, he could feel her potential.  He let her trot easily while he made his way back to the Gemini Temple.

    /Inferno: Nix: Ronnie, could you gather some information on Horse Breeding?  Especially cross-breeding demon strains with regular horses?

    /Inferno: Ronnie: Sounds like a challenge, Nix.  I'm on it.

    /Inferno: Nix: Zeta Team report to the Gemini Temple.

    Nix said it before he remembered that Hyai was visiting her daughter; however, she was the first to arrive a few minutes later.  He tried not to stare, no two ways about it; she wore armor well.

    [You have started Zeta channel]

    /Zeta: Nix: You guys up for a Group Quest?

    /Zeta: Banzi: Of course, boss.

    /Zeta: Nix: Pick up any cold-weather supplies you may need. You'll be escorting a group of Acolytes from the Gladis Hub to Cyphix.

    /Zeta: Wylie: It's a quest from Shi?

    /Zeta: Nix: Yes.  It's labeled as Upper Tier, so I'm guessing there are going to be some difficulties involved.  Do your best.

    [Whisper: Hyai to Nix] Gladis to Cyphix?  That's the path you walked when we first met.

    [Whisper: Nix to Hyai] A good memory.  I would have run the whole way had I known you were waiting.

    Hyai laughed and hugged him before stepping away.

    /Inferno: Esta: I need your help with something Lord Nix.

    /Inferno: Nix: Just Nix is fine.  What's up?

    Nix followed the sound of talking and quickly found Esta and Elune in the Training Yard.  Sharl and Jun Li were sparring each other with their new abilities.  They stopped when they saw Nix.

    The Gemini Priestess looked especially troubled.  "Remember when I mentioned that there were a few lower levels to this Palace?"

    Nix nodded. "Esta and the Acolytes should have started exploring them already."

    Esta's crystalline form waivered in front of Nix, her eyes looking worried.  "We've cleared two levels down, but the third level is an instance.  When I sent a dozen Acolytes to explore the instance, they were killed within a few minutes."

    "Damn,"  Nix muttered a curse, Arch Winds would respawn in Air'Voilla when they died, it was sometimes challenging to convince them to come back.  "All of them were killed?"

    Esta shook her head.  "Ten of them, two are unaccounted for."

    "They were reasonably well equipped from the Cai'Song battle if they were insta-killed in the Gemini Temple than we need to investigate."   Nix summoned Ea'Shadai since Eron would not be available to heal.

    Shadai bowed slightly, the feathers on her white head sticking straight up."Just me today, Nix? Perhaps you want to race again?"

    Nix shook his head. "We're heading into a dangerous area, need you for heals."

    /Inferno: Nix: Charlie Team, time to fight.  Jun Li, Sharl, Chael, and Mina.  Report to the Gemini Training Yard.

    [You have joined Charlie channel]

    /Charlie Team: Nix: There's a high-level instance in the lower levels of the Gemini Palace.  Gear up, we're going in as soon as everyone is here.

    Mina walked into the training area a few minutes later; she was accompanied by four of her Vilas.  The reptilian creatures seemed to have been upgraded; they had grown substantially, their long claws clicked on the stone tile when they walked.

    "Did  you improve the mutated Vilas?" Nix noticed that they were staring; instead of being nervous, he put out a hand for them to smell.

    /Charlie Team: Sharl: Good way to lose a hand, Nix.

    Nix patted the biggest one on its wide snout.  "They aren't aggressive toward allies." He would often catch them playing in the surf with Soup.  "What did you do, Min?"

    Mina shrugged, her pale face showing both confusion and satisfaction at the same time. "I tried to upgrade them, and the thirty Vilas became four."

    /Charlie Team: Nix: Sometimes, less is more.  Assign one of them to protect Shadai please, she'll be on heals today.

    Almost immediately, one of the Vilas moved closer to the Arch Wind; the two creatures seemed slightly at odds.

    An out of breath, Chael showed up a few minutes later; he had a long sniper rifle slung over his shoulder.  "Sorry, Kyla worked all night upgrading my Nether Rifle into something with better range, she was just finishing up."

    The City Portal of Spiro has been opened up to members of Inferno.

    The City Portal of Feski has been opened up to members of Inferno.

    The City Portal of Cyli has been opened up to members of Inferno.

    /Inferno: Nix: Hey, Moki... How's the rebuild of the Moon Goddess going?

    The Moon Goddess quest was an open quest with the Nation of Izzin, Vy and her people built a Shipyard on Loki but then retreated to Izzin before putting it to use.  Nix had assigned the Guild Carpenter to finish the task.

    /Inferno: Moki: Two more days until we're finished.  It's a bit on the ugly side, but better than the crap the dhassi sail around in.

    /Inferno: Nix: Interested in becoming a Shipwright? It's my guess that this might be opened to you at some point.

    /Inferno: Moki: Let me think about it.

    Esta escorted Charlie Team to the entrance of the 3rd level instance. "I can go with you, Nix."

    Nix shook his head, "continue with the Acolyte training while we investigate this."

    /Charlie Team: Nix: Let's go.

    Nix stepped right into a cutscene.  Since they often gave clues about the instance they were in, Nix froze in mid-step.  "Cutscene!  Pay attention."

    A figure wrapped in bandages and cloaked in darkness limped down the stone-tiled hall.  Chains from shackled ankles dragged behind it, announcing its movement with a rattle that echoed endlessly in the torchlit corridor.  It stopped in mid-stride, its red eyes turning towards the group while an evil intent crept in.  An instant later it disappeared into thin air.

    [Chael has been Charmed, you've lost the use of him until this instance is completed.]

    You've resisted Charm.

    Mina has resisted Charm.

    Sharl has resisted Charm.

    Jun Li has resisted Charm.

    Chael has been removed from Charlie Team Chat.

    Nix dodge to one side as a heavy barrel slammed into the empty space he'd been standing in a moment earlier.  A red scimitar appeared in his hand and blocked the second strike.

    [Advanced: Execution]

    Nix's sword sliced through the air where Chael had been standing an instant before, the sniper suddenly disappearing from sight.

    [Dragon Eyes]

    Nix's eyes turn dark orange as the thermal signatures of his enemies give away their position.

    /Charlie Team: Nix: He's gone.

    /Charlie Team: Sharl: The hell...

    /Charlie Team: Mina: What was that figure wrapped in bandages?

    /Charlie Team: Nix: Mummy.

    /Charlie Team: Jun Li: Yep, definitely a Mummy.

    /Charlie Team: Mina: A what?
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