392 Second Chances

    Nix swore loudly when he arrived back in his cozy virtual apartment.  "The hell are they going to change now?"

    /Inferno: Wind: Oops.  Here we go again.

    /Inferno: Pon: I don't think we broke anything. Seibel definitely wasn't some kind of demi-god.

    /Inferno: Jun Li: 2 hours isn't enough to really do anything.  I'm sure it's some kind of cleanup patch.

    /Inferno: Nix: Seibel did say that Khione remembers being defeated and beating us.

    /Inferno: Ronnie: I bet one of those super-secret NPC actors broke their cover.

    /Inferno: Nix:  Gotta be that.

    /Inferno: Sharl: You made it nearly a week without saying anything ridiculous.  Good job, Ronnie.

    /Inferno: Ronnie: Thanks, sis.  Let's go find Nix's room and rock his world.

    /Inferno: Nix: That's one way to blow two hours.

    /Inferno: Sharl: "...."

    /Inferno: Pon: Be honest, more like ten minutes, followed by a long nap.

    /Inferno: Nix: Either way, it's still 2 hours!

    Nix cracked open the fridge and peeked inside; it was stocked with all sorts of beverages, including beer.  He popped one open just as someone knocked on his door.

    Mai offered him a smile when he let her in.  "Seems like history is repeating itself."

    Nix nodded in agreement, watching the petite Asian woman walk into his kitchen. "Isn't it kinda far for you to visit me?"

    "Yep, I started walking as soon as we patched."  She helped herself to a beer, her bright smile put Nix in a good mood.

    Nix opened the cabinet above the sink, last time they patched, there were dominoes and cards stashed there. "Play cards?"

    Mai took a seat at the small dining room table. "What game?"

    Nix removed the cards from the box and shuffled.  "Let's see... War or War?"

    "War?" Mai bit her lip to keep from smiling. "That's a kid's game. Know any others?"

    Nix started dealing out all the cards. "Don't be so picky; I gave you two choices."

    "That was one choice that you said twice."

    Nix nodded. "Same thing."

    Mai straightened out her cards and flipped one over.  "War it is."

    Two hours went by quickly, with Nix dominating the game of War. He glanced at the clock on the wall.  "Why aren't there any clocks in Colonial?"

    Mai offered him a smile. "Isn't there a clocktower in Glory?"

    "Right.  I meant in the homes.  My Turtle house doesn't have one."

    Mai shrugged and started putting the cards away. "No idea.  You think they changed anything?"

    "No.  I think it's basically a cleanup patch.  At least I hope so.  Last time I woke up in Northern Titania without weapons, armor, or credits."

    Mai laughed at his sad expression. "I don't feel sorry for you."

    Nix smiled at her honesty. "You want to try being me?"

    "Yes," Mai admitted.

    [The following Message is viewable in Virtuna only.  Patch Notes: Memory cleanups for several vital NPCs have been completed. The difficulty rating has been lowered on the first 30 floors of the embassy. The success rate for several occupations has been raised. Time will be rewound four hours.]

    [Thank you for your patience.]

    "See ya, Mai."

    "See ya, Nix."

    [Logging Off: Virtuna]

    [Logging In: Colonial]

    Nix found himself in the Gemini Temple, standing next to Pon.  The old man gave him a blank stare. It was precisely where they'd been four hours earlier.

    Wind stepped off the platform, already chuckling.  "I guess this is where I say, good job, guys."

    Pon looked down at the baby in his arms.  "Sem?"

    The blond officer was obviously still mad at him. "I don't thi..."

    Pon interrupted before she could finish. "Want to hold her?"

    Semmi stared at him for a long moment, her pretty blue eyes unreadable.  "I... Of course, I do... Dummy."

    Nix smiled at the save.  "Why don't the two of you take her back? I want to see Hyai."

    Pon glanced at Semmi.  "Want to?"


    Nix exited the temple, whistling a tune while he walked toward his ranch. Fajii was on an important quest, and Shae was egg-sitting.  That should mean that he could spend the next few days with Hyai.

    His good mood came to a screeching halt a few minutes later when he walked by Nightmare's stall.  Nix felt his palm itch for the feel of a sword.  "The hell are you still doing here?"

    The ugly, one-eared goat bleated at him while brushing up against Nightmare.

    "Cheeky bastard.  I'm going to put you in a pot."

    "Nix?"  Hyai's warm voice called out to him from the balcony.

    Nix narrowed his eyes at the devil-goat.  "You survive, this time..."

    Hyai waited for him at the top of the stairs, hugging Nix close before raising her head for a kiss.  "Scarlett and Mortimus went to bed, they wanted to talk to you, but it got too late."

    "Why is that goat still alive?  I thought you were going to put him in a stew?"

    Hyai shrugged slightly, an action that made her bountiful chest sway enticingly. "I was leading him away when Nightmare started acting up.  I thought it was a coincidence, but when I put him back, she calmed down immediately."

    Nix swore under his breath.  "I won't let that goat live."

    Hyai grabbed his hand and pulled him toward the sliding door."Shall I run you a hot bath?"

    Nix grinned at her."Hmm... Are we talking a full-service bath?"

    Hyai pretended to frown. "This isn't that sort of establishment, sir."


    0900 Fishing Hole

    Nix closed his eyes against the morning sun and leaned back in his chair while sighing happily.

    /Go Fish: Jun Li: The face of a happy man.

    /Go Fish: Semmi: He does look pleased with himself.

    Nix opened one eye and checked his bobber. He reeled in some line, just enough to prevent his bait from drifting to the far bank.

    /Go Fish: Nix: We've been busy.  A few days off would be nice.

    /Go Fish: Jun Li: Every time I see your pops, a certain Archon seems to be present.

    Nix smiled and sat up straighter.  It wasn't as if they were hiding or anything.  Vooni and his dad seemed to get along pretty well.  A small tug on his bobber derailed the thought.

    /Go Fish: Semmi: It's an odd match, but it works for them.

    Nix ignored the chatter and waited, slowly he lowered the tip of his rod while reeling in the slack that the action created. Without any further warning, his bobber was yanked beneath the surface.

    He responded by yanking the rod end up and setting the hook.  Immediately the rod bent obscenely; the reel howled in protest as the fish started taking line. Nix used his thumb to dial down the drag a bit and let the quarry run.

    Semmi and Jun Li both reeled in their lines, the blond officer grabbed the landing net and moved closer.

    /Go Fish: Jun Li: Don't let it take too much line, you'll be reeling all morning.

    /Go Fish: Semmi: Isn't that a new rod?  Why's it bending so much?

    After letting the fish run for a few minutes, Nix pulled back on the rod and then let it drop forward while reeling in line.  The rod tip jerked from side-to-side as the fish continued to fight.

    A flash of silver in the middle of the river gave the fishing trio their first view of the fish.  It shot into the air, twisting and yanking in protest before falling back into the water with a splash.

    "Holy crap." Nix.

    "...." Jun Li.

    Semmi favored her fishing buddies with a wide grin. "Hope our landing net is big enough!"

    After nearly twenty minutes of fighting, Nix finally reeled in the fish into the shallows where Semmi swooped in and landed it easily.

    Half of the fish stuck out of the net, the tail flapped from side to side.  Semmi used both hands to hold the net out of the water.  "Some help here, Junie!"

    Junie steadied net with one hand while deftly removing the hook with the other. She lifted the fish free and stepped onto the shore just as Nix finished reeling the rest of his line in.  "Woah... It's heavy, Nix!"

    Nix smiled happily and grabbed the fish, holding it up for his buddies to see.

    [Silver Chalet] 67 lbs, 49 inches long.

    /Go Fish: Semmi: We gonna eat that?

    /Go Fish: Nix: Looks like lunch to me.

    /Go Fish: Jun Li: Hey... You're a taxidermist, couldn't you mount that monster?

    Nix nodded.  "I guess I could."

    /Inferno: Nix: Fresh fish for lunch Hyai...

    /Inferno: Hyai: You guys catch something?  I'll be down in a bit to pick it up.

    /Inferno: Semmi: Better bring someone to help carry it.

    /Inferno: Wind: Me and the old man are close.  We'll lend a hand.

    /Inferno: Semmi: You two just want a free lunch.


    A fairly large group turned up for lunch. The fishing trio caught several nice fish, so for once, there was enough to go around.

    Nix was glad to see that was Semmi smiling all morning. "The first harvest coming soon?"

    Between Pon and Semmi, they had planted several dozen acres of different grains. Their fields were now nearly waist-high, the golden crops seemed to run on for miles.

    Semmi nodded and took a long pull from the mug in front of her.  "We can finally make the real Semmi's Golden." Until now, they'd been using market grain in their brewery.

    "What are your plans for the rest of the day?"  Scarlett's warm gaze fell on Nix, although the Serpent Clan issue was resolved, the Titan Clan leaders decided to stay in Haven until Morti finished his training with Tautius.

    "Going to check out the upgrades to my Turtle House and spend the next few days doing Steward duties in Ionova."  Nix considered the list he made for himself; he also wanted to check on Yena and Dresa.

    "Hopefully, the kitchen is bigger."  Hyai smiled at Nix; she loved to cook and take care of people. "At least big enough to start raising my Chef stats."

    Nix nodded in agreement.  "And a bigger bed.  That thing is much too small..."  The sentence was out before he really considered it.

    "Nix..."  Hyai's pretty face showed a hint of red.

    Nix looked up from his plate; the entire table seemed to be watching him. "Maybe a bigger pond too.  Soup loves to play in..."  His sentence filtered off into an awkward silence.

    /Go Fish: Nix: Why is everyone staring?

    /Go Fish: Jun Li: You have food on your face.

    /Go Fish: Nix: Really?

    /Go Fish: Semmi: Yep.
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