312 Animator

    Leva walked around her desk and stood in front of him when he sat on the couch.  "My position on the Council of Five has been solidified in your absence.  We control the largest section of the Nether."

    "Any issues concerning the other Overlords?"

    Leva shook her head.  "Xia has gone out of her way to ally herself with me; her position as Advisor to the Five is advantageous to us."

    "Hmm... She has other allegiances, let us exercise some caution around her."

    Leva licked her dark lips nervously; her black forked tongue flickered quickly before disappearing.  She bowed slightly, causing her raven-like wings to drag the floor. "I will do as you say, Nix."

    Nix nodded.  "Now that you've got a handle on things here, I'm going to be requiring more help from you in Everspire."

    Leva offered him her version of a smile, with her fangs and predator like features, others might have found it terrifying.  "I look forward to it, Nix."

    "A curse has temporarily hampered my Breach Commander abilities; I'm going to need you to fulfill that duty for me."

    "My Dark Chancellor abilities is a lesser version of the Breach Commander talent tree."  Leva brought up her Dark Chancellor Interface for Nix to look at.

    "You can open a breach anywhere you've been, right?" Nix searched his inventory and removed the golden razir.  "Inhabit this, and I'll bring you back to my place."

    Leva nodded, "After that, I should be able to open Breaches there.  How did you get here if your Breach Commander abilities are disabled?"

    "My armor has an ability called Nether Walker."

    "You have Azul Khan's armor?"  Leva examined Nix's gear; it looked like regular clothes. "The Emperor's armor could look like normal clothes when he wanted them to."

    "It's the King's set," Nix admitted.

    "You can take a few people with you when you move around the breach.  I've seen him do it in the past."

    "Take a seat and animate this razir.  Then I'm going to return home."  Nix saw a bit of hesitation in Leva's dark eyes.  "What?"

    "Nix... Could you summon Ducky to talk to me?"

    Nix laughed at the expression on her face.  Leva seemed to have a fondness for the person who caused their demise.

    [Summons: Ducky]

    Ducky appeared a moment later, her face lighting up when she saw Leva.

    "Leva!"  Ducky offered her a quick hug before turning back to Nix.  "We on a mission, Nix?"

    Nix shook his head.  "Stay and keep Leva company, she'll bring you back in a bit."

    Leva looked down at the Razir on her lap and focused; a moment later, she was looking up at herself.  The tiny Razir darted toward Nix and ran up his leg.

    "Unfortunately, this isn't an Emperor level puppet, so we can't communicate."

    [Nether Walker: Return]

    Nix reappeared in his home a moment later.  It was empty, just as it was when he left it.  He held up the Razir to his face.  "Release the puppet and attempt to open a breach here."

    Nix breathed a sigh of relief a moment later when a breach opened, and Ducky stepped through with Leva.  "Good job.  You can stay until Fajii gets back."


    Nix stared at the queue for the Animator Interface; he had been forced to use it when Una animated the Arch-Nemesis puppet.  Was the Animator Interface the last stage of Taxidermy?  He'd never heard any mention of the title. "For once, couldn't Colonial come with a damn manual?"

    "What hun?"  Hyai spoke from the kitchen where she was making dinner.

    "He's bitching again Hyai, ignore him."  Pon's gruff voice reminded Nix that the old bastard had been watching him for the past hour.

    "Don't you have somewhere else to be old man?"

    "Not really," Pon admitted.  "Make something for f*cks sake."

    "I have figured it out.  This animator interface makes things."

    Pon clapped from the nearby couch.  "Wow... You've become enlightened."

    Nix ignored him and continued.  "I've used fifty pelts from a dozen different animals.  Depending on the type of pelt, the Interface decides what kind of creature it is."

    Pon squinted his eyes when Nix enlarged the interface.  "It says, small creature between 2 and 8 pounds."

    "Here's the cool part,"  Nix added the teeth he purchased from the auction house to the second queue slot.  Immediately the Interface changed to a Small predator between 2 and 8 pounds.

    Nix switched them out with different teeth, and the Interface changed to small herbivore. "The pelts decide the size; the teeth decide type."

    Pon moved to the seat beside him so he could watch closer. "What are those slots beneath them?"

    "Let me show you the notes I've been taking.  There are five major queue slots in the Animator  Interface."

    [Queue One: Size Designator] Furs, feathers, skins.

    [Queue Two: Type of creature] Beaks, bills, teeth]

    [Queue Three: Movement] Hooves, feet, wings, fins

    [Queue Four: Natural Defenses] Bones, shell, exoskeleton.

    [Queue Five: Essense] Spirits, possessed items, curses.

    "Frankenstein lives."  Pon whistled, "make this old man something cool!"

    Nix brought up the hud for the auction house and started searching. "There aren't any strong essences in the Auction House.  So its life span might be a few months."

    Pon confiscated the hud.  "I'll do the searching; you focus on the assembly.  We'll use the pelts you already have in the first queue."

    Nix laughed at Pon's excitement. "Okay, find us some chompers."

    "Exusian duckbill,"  Pon purchased ten bills and continued searching.

    Nix cursed the lack of instructions.  "Do I use five bills?  Or fifty?"

    Pon shrugged.  "One for starters, we're experimenting."

    "After two queues, it's designated as a small carnivore."  Nix moved to the third queue.  "Movement type."

    "Otter feet!"  Pon grinned and made the purchase.

    "Old bastard, you're making a platypus."

    Pon cackled like a mad scientist.  "Yes!"

    "Any bone chips or fragments?"

    Pon frowned at the auction hud.  "Only rat bones."

    Nix considered the bones.  "Rat bones are nice and flexible; let's do it.  Look for spirit essence."

    Pon scowled at the hud; he was a man of low patience.  "Fine."

    "Want to stop Old man?"

    "Stop?  No, I don't want to stop.  Put them in there!"  Pon continued to search the auction house; after several minutes, he could find nothing.

    Nix brought up a second hud and started looking. "Found one!"  Nix showed Pon the auction item.

    Aquatic Ring

    Description: Simple ring

    infused with the spirit of

    a Bolo fish.  Grants the wearer

    underwater breathing.

    Nix added it to the last queue and then showed Pon. "Check out the description, too; we'll skip enhancements for now."

    [Miscellaneous pelts x 30] [Exusian Duckbill ] [Otter Feet] [Rat Bones] [Bolo Fish Spirit]

    Description: This creature is a semi-aquatic, duckbilled carnivore.

    Weight: 8 pounds

    Enhancements: None

    Life Expectancy: 3 years.

    Nix looked at the animate icon, then glanced at Pon, who was nodding his head up and down. "Fine."

    Everspire Platypus: Unique

    Description: Light brown creature that

    is particularly adept in the water.

    Pon snatched up the little creature as soon as it appeared.  "We made a platypus!"

    Nix chuckled at the old man.  "Want some advice?"

    Pon shook his head.  "Not from a young punk like you."

    "Give it to Semmi."

    "Huh?"  Pon looked at him like he was crazy. "I'm keeping this!"

    "Staying for dinner, Pon?" Hyai was holding a stack of plates in her hand.

    Pon shook his head.  "No, thanks.  Officer meeting tomorrow, Nix."  He left without saying anything else.

    "What was that thing, Nix?"  Hyai served up two bowls of stew and then filled two mugs with Semmi's Golden.

    "Sorry, I didn't help with dinner."  Nix pulled up a seat next to her.  "It's just a pet, I guess."

    "That's fine."  Hyai smiled sweetly at him and scooted her bench closer to his.  "Think he'll give that to Semmi?

    Nix nodded.  "Yep."


    Mortimus sighed heavily from his seat overlooking the training area.  "This isn't going to work."

    Scarlett slipped an arm through his.  "No, I don't think it is."

    They watched as Morti continued to argue and question his Chevalier over every little thing.  The Titan cub mentioned Nix's name every few minutes; it was apparent that his trainer was looking for a way out.

    Scarlett could see now that a less traditional approach was needed. "A Chevalier is supposed to teach tactics and instill discipline.  Hasn't Nix been doing that since he found Mortimer?"

    Mortimus nodded.  "Nix has great instincts, and the two of them have established trust."

    Scarlett squeezed her husband's arm. "You settle things here, and then we'll talk to Nix."


    /Inferno: Mina: Everyone heading to Free Trader City or Haven, meet at the turtle pond.

    Fajii squeezed by Hyai in the bathroom and grabbed a towel.  "You going with them?"

    Hyai nodded. "I'll be questing in lower Everspire with Min and Milat."

    "Be careful.  Hey... Has Nix mentioned Shae?"

    Hyai shook her head. "I'm really worried."

    "Me too."  Fajii placed a hand on the Inn Keeper's head and stroked her soft hair.  "Nix won't let anything bad happen to her."

    Hyai hid a smile, after spending a lot of time with Fajii and Mina, she was beginning to understand that Aquarions cared deeply for their friends and wouldn't hesitate to show affection. "Don't let Nix sleep through the officer meeting."

    Fajii nodded.  "I won't."


    Fajii nudged Nix and pointed to Semmi.  "Where'd she get that?"

    Nix didn't bother to hide his wide smile.  Semmi was holding the platypus that Nix had made for Pon. The old mage was sitting next to her with a scowl on his face.  "I made that for Pon."

    Fajii looked confused.  "Does it fight?"

    Nix shook his head.  "No."

    They were sitting in a large office on the second floor of the newly acquired HQ.  Jun Li was standing in front of a rather impressive looking table hud.

    /Officer: Jun Li: This is the most advanced raiding interface I've ever seen.  It tracks raids, loot, quests, and offers tactical suggestions.

    /Officer: Semmi: The Oberton's were working on a questline called The Lost City. According to the quest tracker on this hud, they failed five times in a row.

    Semmi activated the hud, and a large holo map of the Great Desert spread out over the table.

    /Officer: Semmi: Each leg of the quest is marked on the map.  The first three legs are all item turn-ins that give you a key to unlock the fourth quest.  Thanks to Tobias, we have the Key.

    /Officer: Jun Li: The Key opens a specific door and starts the next quest; this is where Tobias and his crew were stuck.

    /Officer: Nix: You want to jump in on his quest.  Will having the key put us on the 4th leg automatically?

    /Officer: Jun Li: One way to find out.

    /Officer: Nix: What's the objective of this questline?

    /Officer: Jun Li: We don't really know.  Mostly we are looking to test this hud interface and the transports.

    /Officer: Ronnie: Captain Ronnie is driving!

    /Officer: Jun Li: Since we don't have the quest yet, we aren't sure of the number requirement. We'll bring ten and hope that's enough.

    /Officer: Semmi: We also found some details on the crafts we found.  They will completely regenerate their mana banks after sitting for three days. Since there are three of them, we can use them continually.

    /Officer: Nix: Any idea where Tobias got them?  It doesn't seem like something a smuggler should have.

    /Officer: Semmi: No clue yet.

    /Officer: Jun Li: Here's the crew that's going.  Let me know if you can't go.  We leave in thirty minutes.






    Jun Li




    Gypsy Rose

    /Officer: Nix: Should take eight hours?

    /Officer: Jun Li: Something like that.
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