299 Homecoming part one

    He passed out before he swam more than a few meters. Mina moved around the blockade and swam toward him.  "NIX!"

    Most of his armor was melted away; he still gripped a broken sword hilt in one hand.  When she hugged him close, she could smell his burnt flesh.  She kissed his forehead gently, her pale eyes unable to look away from him.

    "That hurts."  Nix opened his eyes a moment later.  "Hey, Min."

    A wide smile creased her beautiful face. "Hey, Nix."

    Nix grabbed hold of  Soup's shell and pulled himself on her.  "Go back to the cavern Soup; we'll walk from there."

    The exhausted Aquarion clung to Soup's shell beside him.  Her hands reached out to touch his face or stroke his hair.  They didn't speak on the trip back.

    The trip through cavern was uneventful.  Nix unsummoned Soup and rode one of Mina's Vila out of the cavern.

    "It's nice to have a ride,"  Nix spoke for the first time in a few minutes.  They exited the Quarry and turned toward his house.

    Pale blue eyes stared at him in the darkness.  "I missed you, Nix."

    Nix was bandaging his wounds while he rode.  Slowly his skin was turning back to its normal color. "Same here.  Thanks for coming  Mina."

    Personal Messaging has been restored.

    Mina reached out her hand and handed him a small bracelet.

    "Present?"  Nix picked it up and noticed right away that it was her Deep Blue.  All the saved waypoints were erased except for the Gemini Temple and Free Trader City.  "Free Trader City?"

    "It's a large city in lower Everspire; it sits on the corners of four different provinces.  I believe Inferno is there right now."

    Nix slipped the bracelet on.  "We're back."

    "We're back," Mina agreed.

    A few minutes later, they dismounted outside of the turtle home.  Mina stopped and stared when she saw it.

    "Hey, Nix... This looks like a turtle shell."

    "Cuz it's a turtle shell."  Nix opened the back door and let her in. "Bathroom is through the closet. Security Menu, Add Filamina to the Permissions list."

    [House Permissions Updated to Include Filamina.]

    Una stood up from her spot in front of the fireplace.  The Dire Wolf stared at the Aquarion without commenting.

    "Una, this is my friend, Mina, from the Inferno Guild."

    "I saw an announcement.  Inferno just killed an Oblivion Spider, that's an impressive feat."

    "They're awesome. You can sleep in the bed, for now, Min, I'm gonna take a bath and get some rest."

    Mina shook her head.  "I'll take the couch."

    "Suit yourself.  Tomorrow, we're gonna pick up our friends."


    Many hours later, Nix's eyes finally opened.  He stretched under the warm blankets of his bed; soft white hair brushed against his arm.  He turned to find the Aquarion next to him; somehow, she had snatched his pillow in the middle of the night.

    "Why aren't you on the couch, pillow snatcher?"

    She moved against him, her soft skin warm on his.  "I want to talk to you."

    "You here to exchange pointers, Min?"

    Mina nodded.  "I'm considering it."

    Nix laughed at her expression.  "What about my ugliness?"

    The Aquarion pursed her lips.  "I could close my eyes."

    "HAHAHAHA." Nix pushed her away and sat up.  "Why not just put a paper bag over my head."

    "What's a paper bag?"

    Mina watched as he got up and started getting dressed.  "I brought you something else also."

    "Present?"  Nix held out his hand.

    [Halter: Flash]

    Nix clapped his hands together. "Finally!  I have my horse back."

    Mina got out of bed and stretched her arms overhead; she noticed Nix looking at her.  "Going to take a shower, that okay?"

    Nix nodded absentmindedly.  "Hey, Min... Why are you naked?"

    Mina stepped into the doorway, pausing to look over her shoulder.  "I told you why."

    He watched her slim form move gracefully into the bathroom.  "Yeah. Let's discuss this later."

    Nix walked into his kitchen a few minutes later, Una hadn't moved from the fire.  "Need your help with something Una."

    "That your mate Nix?"

    Nix shook his head.  "No.  She's a trusted ally and a close friend."

    "Very close," Una agreed.

    Nix frowned at the wolf before walking outside.  He heard the soft pad of wolf feet follow behind him. As expected, the Trams had already arrived.

    "Have a seat."  Nix brought out one of the Dire Wolf Dolls.  Now that he knew Ginger was a girl, it was easy to pick her out. "You first."

    Ginger nodded from her place on the ground.  "What am I doing?"

    Nix gestured toward the wolf-puppet that he laid on the grass.  "This is an inhabitable puppet.  It means you can assume control of it."

    Ginger gave him a doubtful smile.  "This a joke, Sir?"

    Nix moved behind her and knelt on the ground.  He gripped her shoulders tightly. "Focus.  In your head, I want you to make an effort to inhabit this puppet.  Be the puppet Ginger, don't worry, it's impossible to get stuck."

    A gasp of surprise from her brothers as the Dire Wolf stood up awkwardly.  Nix gently lay Ginger down on the soft grass.

    One by one, over an hour, each of the Trams practiced with the puppets.  Mina came out after a few minutes and watched them all work together.

    Nix completely lost track of time and had to be reminded by Mina that they had to leave.

    "Sorry, guys.  I have to go."

    Theo pulled his two siblings away, now that Nix was getting to know them, he understood that Theo was the defacto leader.  "Back tomorrow Nix?"

    Nix nodded. "Same time."

    He grabbed Mina's hand and activated his medallion.

    [Steward Activation: Nescari]

    The gating point was just outside the back entrance to the Courtyard.  Since this was where he agreed to meet, Nix opened the gate and entered.

    Mina had to squeeze his hand to pull him out of his daze.  The Courtyard was completed packed with people; it was standing room only.

    Nix smiled at the couple when he approached.  "You sure you want this many people here?"

    Scarlett nodded.  "Please don't let me down, Nix.  Please... my heart couldn't take it."

    Mortimus just nodded his big head; his large hands were clenching and unclenching.

    "This is Filamina, my good friend." Nix shook his hand loose from her grip.  "Mina, this is Morti's parents, Scarlett and Mortimus."

    Mina's beautiful eyes widened in surprise. "You found Morti's family?" The Aquarion clapped her hands together.  "He's going to be so happy."

    Nix checked his hud.  "Summon hasn't reset yet.  So I should mention a few things."

    Scarlett would generally have been more welcoming toward Mina, but her heart was beating so hard she was having a difficult time focusing.  "Okay, Nix."

    "Morti is no longer brown when I found him his coat was damaged a bit.  In the process of fixing it, the color was changed to black."

    "Morti's a black bear?"  Mortimus's booming voice made it inevitable that everyone heard.

    "I don't care."  Scarlett's nails dug into her husband's thick arm.  "Is it time yet, Nix?"
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