275 Neptiphago

    A few minutes later, Nix, Zinu, and Locas entered the NW Inn.  From their heat signatures, Nix could tell that Chiba and Floyd were on the 2nd floor. He breathed a small sigh of relief.  "Teams back together."

    /Gemini: Nix: We're in the dining room.  What are you waiting for?

    /Gemini: Chiba: Don't be testy Apprentice!  You must really have missed your lovely Master.

    The Inn was in remarkably good shape. The shields were up and had been protecting the city from years of wear. Power was the issue. Nix pursed his lips while he considered the question. "How are they powering the city?"

    Nix turned when a hand squeezed his shoulder, Chiba bowed slightly, giving him a creepy smile. "You're making a habit of saving me.  I should thank you properly."

    "Pass."  Nix glanced from one to the other, both of them were uninjured. "Brief me."

    Chiba nodded and sat on one of the stools next to the bar.  Unexpectedly Locas hopped over the bar and started checking out the selection. "We kicked Tipha's ass sideways after the breach closed. She's a dragon by the way; we forced her to use her trump card to flee the battle. Chiba paused for a moment and gestured toward Floyd. "He's badass by the way. Tipha didn't realize she had the fake Gearpin, he used that to create an opening."

    Nix smiled at the Naga teen, Sharl didn't use him enough. "Ronnie recommended that I bring him."

    Floyd's tanned faced darkened at the mention of the archer's name. "She did?"

    Chiba frowned at his reaction. "Are you blushing? I'm way hotter than Ronnie!"

    Floyd shook his head. "Nope."

    Locas had opened a bottle on the other side of the bar and was sniffing it carefully before he weighed in on the topic. "Not even close."

    Nix laughed at the scowling swordmaster. "It's unanimous Chiba."

    Zinu had been watching the group's interaction with interest, it was obvious that their banter was friendly. "Ronnie is the Dark Archer from Everspire?  My clansmen are still talking about her, they say she is deadly and very beautiful."

    Chiba played with the ring on her finger, the temptation to take it off nearly overwhelmed her. "You're covered in mud, you don't get to say anything."

    Nix held up a hand to stop the discussion from progressing. "Do we know where Tipha went?"

    Chiba shook her head. "She disappeared and the two of us headed here."

    [Whisper: Aki to Nix] I wish to approach you without having a conflict.

    [Whisper: Nix to Aki] I will not attack someone who approaches me in peace unless they are really bad.

    [Whisper Aki to Nix] And you decide who is bad?

    [Whisper Nix to Aki] Yes.

    [Whisper Aki to Nix] I have a squad of Archons here, but I will come alone.

    [Whisper Nix to Aki] I'll meet you in Market Square.

    [Whisper Aki to Nix] You may bring your companions if you wish.

    /Gemini: Nix: I've been contacted by someone named Aki.  She wants to meet in the Market Square.

    Chiba looked up from the bottle Locas was showing her. "A meeting?"  She stowed the bottle in her inventory, "can you hit targets in the Market from here?"

    Locas nodded.  "Yes. I'll head to the roof and provide support.

    /Gemini: Chiba: Floyd and I will stealth and tag along.

    Nix shook his head.  "I will handle this."

    /Gemini: Chiba: Open a breach from here to the Market Square and leave it open.

    /Gemini: Nix: I can't risk that, Tipha may be able to sense breach activity. Stay here Master, let the apprentice handle it.

    Chiba looked like she wanted to protest further but she didn't.  "Don't use sword abilities on a water creature, go straight for your strength.  Burn everything."

    Nix walked down the empty street towards the Market area.  He noticed her from a few blocks away, standing casually in front of a fountain that was absent of water.

    /Gemini: Nix: No heat signature on this Aquarion.

    /Gemini: Chiba: That means she has ice abilities Nix, use caution.

    Nix had difficulty discerning Aquarion females from one another.  Fajii was easy since she no longer resembled an Aquarion, with the exception of Mina, he often confused them. As he moved closer, he noticed a strong resemblance to Ishna.

    She bowed when he stopped a few feet away.  "I am Aki. It is my honor to greet the Cora'Zai."

    Nix stared, not offering a greeting. He knew from experience that Aquarions could be deceitful if it meant they could get their hands on him.  "What is the Cora'Zai?"

    Aki's pale face showed surprise. "You have many Aquarion followers. Some even say you've taken an Aquarion wife.  How is it possible you don't know the term?"

    /Inferno: Nix: What is the Cora'Zai?

    /Inferno: Mina: Nix?  Where did you hear that word?

    /Inferno: Nix: A powerful Aquarion name Aki said it.

    /Inferno: Mina: It's a useless and false legend Nix.

    /Inferno: Nix: So... I'm not the Cora'Zai?

    /Inferno: Mina: Definitely not.

    /Inferno: Milat: You are.

    /Inferno: Zhava: I believe so.

    /Inferno: Fajii: Yes.

    /Inferno: Mina: Stop speaking now!  He is not!

    /Inferno: Fajii: Mind your words, Mina.  You are my friend but I don't take orders from you anymore.

    /Inferno: Semmi: Woah... easy there guys.

    Nix ignored the guild chatter and smiled pleasantly.  "Seems to be some debate as to whether that term should be applied to me."

    Six of the Eight requirements for a World Event Quest have been completed. All potential candidates have been notified.

    [World Event Quest: The Battle for Colonial!]

    Requirement: The Inquisitor. (Completed)

    Requirement: Into the Deep. (Completed)

    Requirement: The Souza Accord. (Completed)

    Requirement: Not a casual thing. (Completed)

    Requirement: Child of Peace. (Completed)

    Requirement: Abomination Destruction. (Complete)

    Requirement: Taking Aquarius. (Ongoing)

    Requirement: The Heart of Winter. (Ongoing)

    /World Event Notification: If you were present at three of these events then you are a candidate.

    Semmi has been notified.

    Jun Li has been notified.

    Sharl has been notified.

    Ronnie has been notified.

    Pon has been notified.

    Wind has been notified.

    Hyai has been notified.

    Shae has been notified.

    /Inferno: Pon: The hell have you stepped in now Nix?

    /Inferno: Ronnie: It's official, I'm now someone really important.

    /Inferno: Jun Li: I suggest an immediate retreat, we need to approach this slowly.

    /Inferno: Semmi: Bring in Alpha Team.

    /Inferno: Floyd: Hey... We have everything here under control.

    Aki shook her head. "I realize that there could be many candidates, however, it stands to reason that the strongest will emerge and be the Cora'Zai."

    "I'm sure it's Pon." Nix shrugged off the title, it couldn't possibly be cooler than the Animator.  "Anyway, why are you here? Besides to ruin my day with the Cora'Zai crap."

    "May I call my squad?"  When Nix nodded, Aki made a gesture and five Archons unstealthed right next to them.

    /Gemini: Floyd: Oh **.

    /Gemini: Chiba: Nix?

    /Gemini: Locas: Say the word boss, I have a one-hit ability that can take Aki down for a long time, if she manages to survive it.

    /Gemini: Nix: Stand down.  It's fine.

    "You lied."  Nix stared at Aki, his yellow eyes not showing the restraint he was using.  "You said you would come alone."

    "I did come alone, they only approached in the last few moments."

    [Aura Ignition: Emerald Flames]

    "Humor... I like jokes too."  The temperature around Nix started to rise, the stones beneath him slowly heating up.

    Aki nodded and bent down on both knees when she glanced at her squad, they did the same.

    Nix stared at them for a moment.  "The f*ck are you doing?"

    Aki looked up from her knees.  "You must take my head.  All of us actually.  We are traitors and must be killed immediately."

    One by one the Aquarions next to her spoke.

    "I am Shali, my sins are many.  I accept my death."

    "My name is Bu'Na, please end my life."

    "I am Vargis, I would en..."

    "Okay, stop right there."  Nix interrupted Vargis before he could finish.  "F*ck you idiots and the stupid ** your sprouting."

    Aki shook her head. "Each of us has an Ice artifact in our bodies, it has given us great strength but also binds us to her will."

    Nix's scowl dropped suddenly and was replaced by an innocent smile.  "An ice artifact?  I know just what to do."
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