393 Upgraded Home

    1400 hours: Ionova

    Nix and Hyai took the Gemini Gate to Ionova and then walked off lunch while they strolled towards home.

    Bali crouched in the middle of a thicket, watching the couple walk by hand in hand.  She was the middle of deciding what she should do to them when Nix waved to her.

    /Inferno: Nix: Don't even think about it, Bali.

    Bali hopped out of the brush, wearing a smile.  "How'd you see me?"

    "Body heat.  You need to be able to mask that too."  Nix continued walking past before Bali could draw him into anything.

    "Hey, boss."  Bali smiled at the strolling couple.  "Am I interfering?"

    "Yes.  Threes a crowd."  Nix shoo'd her away with one hand.  "Find something to do."

    It was a short walk to the ridge; the old town sight was visible over their left shoulder as they climbed the steep incline. Unexpectedly the old town was being vacated faster than anyone could have predicted and was nearly empty.

    Nix finally crested the hill, pulling Hyai closer as they paused to preview the home.  "Woah..."

    Hyai matched his smile. "Now, I'm curious."

    From a distance, it was apparent that the upgrade was substantial.  Not only did the turtle home sprout outwards in all directions, but a second floor had been added.  The small pond behind the home now resembled a small freshwater cove.

    They approached the front entrance of the home, the front and back doors were replaced with a larger set of double doors.  The shell had been raised to include a second-floor; six skylight windows were built into the roof.

    "I like the color."  Hyai followed Nix as they walked around the outside of the home, the shell had an aquamarine tinge like Soup.

    Nix peeked in the back door; it still led to a bedroom.  He twisted the knob and held the door while ushering Hyai inside.

    The back bedroom hadn't changed much; it still sported a walkthru closet leading to the bathroom. The room, closet, and bathrooms were only slightly bigger.

    Walking out of the bedroom, they stepped into the kitchen area.  There were two sets of double ovens and a refrigerator that sported four separate doors.  The kitchen island was much larger, featuring a meal prepping area and a copper farm sink.

    The Innkeeper's smile continued to widen as she walked through her favorite area.  A room now bordered either side of the bedroom, one was a walk-in pantry while the other was a cozy looking study.

    "It's a perfect kitchen." Hyai ran a hand over the black marble countertop of the kitchen island.  They almost always ate here in the past.  "I'm a bit nervous about seeing the rest of it."

    The living room was slightly larger, and an equal size dining area had been added.  A long table accompanied by a dozen comfortable looking chairs meant they could seat all of their closest friends.

    Nix stepped into the entryway near the front doors; a mudroom bordered it on the left and another study on the right. If you walked straight from the door, there was a large staircase leading up.

    Half of the second floor consisted of the lofted ceilings over the dining and living room.  Nix climbed the stairs, the railing took a ninety-degree turn at the top and extended to the far wall.  It gave you a nice view of the area below and would make communicating between levels easier.

    "Only one set of doors?"  Hyai had been shadowing him while he explored.  She grabbed the brass handles of the double wooden doors and pushed it open.

    Nix didn't hide the smile that suddenly appeared on his face.  "Now that... is a big bed."

    Underneath one of the skylight windows was the biggest bed, Nix had ever seen.  It boasted a large wooden headboard that was carved with an intricate vine and leaf pattern.  It was at least double the size of the bed downstairs and had six pillows lined up in a row leaning neatly against the headboard.

    "Nix!"  Hyai opened a door into what Nix guessed was a spare room, but was actually a closet.  A door on the far side of the closet led to a large bathroom.  Its best feature was an over-sized circular tub and a separate shower.

    After checking out the bathroom, Nix walked back into the bedroom.  There was a couch and two very comfortable looking chairs against the wall.  A circular black table was centered in front of the sofa.

    Nix took a seat on the edge of the couch and touched the black table.  Immediately a hud popped into view.  It was projected from the center.

    [Welcome to your Enhanced Turtle Home]

    [Main Menu]

    1) Security

    2) Communications

    3) Crafting

    4) Exploration and Quests

    5) The Great Everspire Library

    [Two new users have been identified. Hyai and Nix. Is this correct?]

    "Yes," Nix replied.

    "Yes," Hyai replied.

    [In order to create an individual experience, we wish to download your friend lists, crafting skills, and personal stats. Is this acceptable?]

    Nix nodded. "Yep."

    "Sure," Hyai scooted closer to Nix, leaning forward to view the hud better.

    [Hyai, there are currently four items available at different markets in Everspire that would be upgrades to your current equipment.  Do you wish to purchase these now?]

    "No, thanks."  Hyai stared at the screen; the items were saved as notes and listed at the bottom.

    [User Interface setup complete]

    Nix whistled softly.  "From my friend's list, add Fajii and Shae as users.  They will set up their own interface when they arrive."

    [Understood.  Hyai, Nix, Fajii, and Shae are listed as Primary Users.]

    Hyai kissed the side of his face, knowing that he would be messing with the interface for quite some time. "Any preference for dinner?"

    Nix shook his head; he was still full from lunch.  "Bit early, isn't it?"

    The redhead pinched his cheek.  "Do you think everything takes ten minutes to prepare?"

    "No... Fine, some sort of fowl, and vegetables."

    [Hyai, there are three kinds of fowl available at the local market.]

    Hyai wrinkled her nose slightly.  "Can I access this interface from the kitchen?"

    [User Interface is available from this location and the kitchen island.]

    "Going to buy a few things downstairs, hun, the pantry is currently bare."  Hyai ruffled his hair and left the room.

    Nix waited until he heard her on the stairs before looked back at the hud.  "I'll check out the rest later.  Contact Shae."

    [Direct HoloCom: Shae]

    An image of Shae appeared in the air above the table, her lips curved in a warm smile when she saw him.  "Have your Breach Commander abilities returned?"

    Nix shook his head. "This is the new house interface; it's a bit of an upgrade."

    Shae was standing next to a giant dragon egg; Nix could tell that she was eating ghost peppers.  "Really?  How's the bed?"

    Nix glanced over his shoulder at the bed. "Come see for yourself."

    "In a few more days, I'll feel comfortable leaving the eggs here at night.  This is an important time in their growth cycle."

    Nix took a moment to explain about Del Tali and her ability to communicate from inside her egg. "Did you know that was possible?"

    Shae played with a strand of her red hair while she considered his words. "No.  I'm not surprised, though. There's an obvious difference between a dragon egg containing a newly formed dragon spawn and something like you've been able to accomplish with Nihlus, Sindi, and Del."

    Nix understood the difference. "The last three were fully mature people, complete with intelligence, skills, and communicative abilities."

    "Correct." Shae sighed.  "Come see me; it has been entirely too long."

    Nix nodded.  "I agree.  I have some governing tasks to complete tomorrow.  Once that's done, I will be visiting the House of Tempest for some special training."

    "How long will you be at the House of Tempest?"

    "Chiba is going with me; she said to prepare for a week. We will be shoring up my spellsword defense."

    "Hmm... I don't want to wait a week to see you." Shae's lips curved in a smile. "Okay?"

    "After I finish in Ionova tomorrow, I'll come by. It might be late."
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