406 Parade of Dragons

    After lunch was over, Wind moved to the far side of the yard to spar with Sasi and Rabi while Beta and Chiba stood on either side of Nix.

    Chiba handed Beta a training dagger while she swiped a long blade in the air.  "What is your spell defense at now?"

    "Level four, 3/50"

    Chiba swore under her breath.  "Your ability to improve is uncanny.  You should have ended the week at Level three by my estimation."

    Nix shrugged slightly.  "What can I say? You are a great instructor."

    Chiba's face reddened slightly, her lips curved in a wide smile.  "I didn't take that into consideration."

    Nix chuckled and moved into position.  "Ready."

    This time Nix only faced two Mages, but both Chiba and Beta stood within striking distance. As Chiba explained it, he would have to defend a melee attack from one of them and then defend the casting.

    Talot has cast [Uncilliary].

    Beta leaped in and attempted a basic slash at Nix's torso, he fended it off with one of the training blades just before the spell struck him in the face.

    Nix cursed and quickly reset.

    Vasi has cast [Uncilliary].

    Chiba's blade thrust straight at Nix.

    Nix has activated [Ghost Step].

    Nix successfully avoided Chiba's attack, his own blade flicked the spell aside.

    Talot has cast [Uncilliary].

    Again Beta leaped, this time stabbing upward at his throat.

    Nix blocked the attack with his right blade, instead of switching, the same blade stabbed into the gap and flicked the spell away.  Unexpectedly it deflected toward Chiba, who was then forced to defend.

    Vasi has cast [Uncilliary].

    With Chiba out of position, Nix flicked the spell at Beta.

    Talot has cast [Uncilliary].

    Beta leaped straight backward, out of the path of the spell. Nix laughed at her expression and flicked Talot's spell toward Chiba.

    [Spell Deflection: Unlocked] Level One 1/15]

    New Spellsword Skill learned, Spell Deflection.

    "STOP!"  Chiba knocked the spell down, her eyes wide with shock.  "Apprentice?"

    Nix did his best to appear innocent.  "Yes, Master?"

    "Either you have impossible luck, or you are deflecting spells at us."

    Nix gave her a guilty look.  "Sorry Master, I won't do it again."

    Unexpectedly Chiba's beautiful face lit up with a smile.  "NIX! Spell Deflection is not a thing!"

    "Huh?" Nix brought up his stats and showed her the new ability.  "It just popped up."

    "Show me.  Everything you did, what your thought process was.  Leave nothing out."

    The remainder of the day was spent trying to show Chiba the process he used in deflection.  It took a few hours, but the Swordmaster was able to learn it. Afterward, the four of them walked back to the second-floor suite together.  Chiba was humming happily to herself.

    "My apprentice has shown me several different types of blades and now he has added to the Spellsword Skillset.  I will send a message to Grand Master Sersao right away."

    Nix was tempted to say something like, 'I am the Master now!', but instead he just nodded.  "Maybe she'll send us something nice."

    Chiba glanced sideways at him.  "Speaking of something nice, where did you get that booze from the other day?"

    "You mean the one that put you facedown on the floor?  An alchemist from the Titan Clan makes it."

    "Where were you?  I wanted to have a toast with my apprentice."

    "I was with Deidra, she wanted to talk more about my elements."

    Chiba clapped her hands loudly.  "I knew it!  She whisked you away.  Where did you go last night?"

    "Last night I took a group from Inferno to Khalam'Zur."  Nix kept his expression neutral.

    The group sat in the suite's common area and talked for an hour. Finally Chiba decided it was time to get ready and excused herself to her room. Wind and Beta tried their best to convince Nix to attend the parade with them.

    "Come on, Boss. The process passes the Greater Houses. We're actually walking into Talumbir to see the procession."

    Nix tried his best to look like he wasn't planning something nefarious.  "Talumbir?  Isn't that Jargon Kane's City?"

    Beta nodded.  "He's hard to deal with.  Deidra doesn't get along with him at all."

    "Neither does Tai'Qui," Nix stated while planning his own evening.  "You guys have fun!  I'm really tired, going to eat and then get some rest."

    Wind gave him an apologetic look.  "Sorry boss, you must be exhausted.  We didn't get home until late and you trained all day."

    Nix waved him off. "No worries.  Think I"ll grab a shower before dinner. Cya later."

    "Cya, boss."

    "Cya Nix."  Beta waited until Nix closed the door before frowning.  "Damn it.  Know anyone else we can invite?"


    Nix took a shower and then made a quick meal from the trays that were placed in the common area.  He spent a few minutes playing with Soup.  "Ya know soup...  It's okay to f*ckaround on occasion."

    He put Soup on his shoulder and quickly found the stairs leading up to the roof.  Rabi had told him that there was a small observatory platform where he could see the entire city.  Nix found the place relatively easy and sat in one of the comfortable chairs.  "Want to know something interesting about dragons?"

    Soup stared at him with dark eyes.

    "Their hands are tied. They aren't allowed to use offensive spells unless they are attacked."

    Soup continued to stare.

    "Sure, they can whisk you off to some distant place or use their aura to crush you, but in the end, they can't do much."  Nix pursed his lips slightly while thinking.  "I suppose they could still bite..."

    Nix took the Falcon Titan out of his animator inventory and placed it on the platform in front of him.  It was a golden brown color, similar to the golden eagles that fished the east coast waters around Nix's home.  Without considering the wisdom of his action, he inhabited the puppet.

    Soup watched from Nix's shoulder as the Falcon stood up.  Standing on its intimidating claws, the bird's head was about a bit taller than Morti.  Its curved beak was yellow, the same color as its eyes.

    Nix felt the difference immediately, this was an animation made entirely of the extinct Titan Falcon race.  The strength of the bird seemed endless.  The bird head swiveled while Nix tested its vision.  He clicked his beak together several times.  His Phoenix was impressive but it wasn't a Titan, strength like he'd never seen flowed through him.

    Soup squeaked loudly when the falcon extended its wings, the wings were spotted underneath and slightly smaller than Feys.

    "You wanted to fly, right?" For a moment, Nix thought Soup was going to refuse, but instead, the shadow sphinx [shifted] and nestled down in the feathers on top of the Titan's head.  "Good girl.  Shall we crash the party?"


    Chiba, Wind, and Beta sat together on one of the fountain benches in Talumbir. The sidewalks were crowded with spectators, but the fountain area was relatively empty.  Talumbir was not like the other dragon cities, there was only one Greater House, the House of Kane.  The large area that should have been regulated to the Greater Houses had been turned into several squares filled with luxurious fountains and statues.

    Chiba took a drink from her flask, unhappy that her apprentice was absent.  "Someone really likes fountains."

    Beta nodded in agreement.  "I like them.  Talumbir has many cultural landmarks that the other cities don't."

    "Nix says that the City Master here is an ass."  Chiba took another drink before handing it to Beta.

    "Shhh!  Don't say that out loud!" Beta glanced around, making sure no one was close enough to hear. "He also has the most followers, they are a bit on the fanatical side." The albino operative accepted the flask and took a small drink, immediately regretting the action.  "Is that poison?"

    "A present from my apprentice." She handed the flask to Wind who willingly took a drink.

    Wind pursed his lips slightly after sampling it.  "Not bad."  He took another drink and passed it back to Chiba.

    The parade moved through each of the cities, scantily clad performers dressed in bright colors, danced to the music.  Chiba stood on the bench, clapping and singing.

    Beta smiled at her friend.  They had lost touch for several years when Chiba's planar trials were sabotaged.  It was nice having her back.

    The trio laughed and talked, pointing out some of the amazing acts that passed by.  Finally, the Dragon City Masters came into view, the roar of the crowd rose to a deafening level.

    Beta pointed at the group.  "There's Deidra!"

    Deidra wore a dark blue gown that featured an elaborate silver headdress.  The gown seemed to have texture and continually shifted colors between blue and green as she walked.

    Wind noticed that Deidra and Tai'Qui were walking with another female Dragon Master that he didn't recognize.  "Who is walking next to Deidra?"

    Beta made an unhappy face.  "That's Sinfaya."  The albino rogue often worked with Sinfaya's people.  They liked to make fun of Beta's coloring, gave her the dreaded nickname, Snowflake."


    Nix had flown before, on mounts, with his Archon wings and even in puppets; none of them could compare with the Titan Falcon.  The titan had a long list of abilities that Nix skimmed before launching into the air.

    Generally speaking, because of the city shields and restrictions imposed by the City Masters, no one flew in the city.  "Gotta stay low Soup."

    Nix banked between two greater houses before leveling out over the street that the progression was using.  Two slight flaps of his wings sent him rocketing toward the entrance of Talumbir.  He could hear Soup squealing with excitement. "I know. This thing is really fast."

    As soon as he entered Talumbir, he spotted his target.  The Falcon had the ability to zoom in endlessly, it was like looking through a telescope.

    [Whisper: Nix to Deidra] Probably should move away from the fountains.

    [Whisper: Nix to Tai'Qui] Move away from the fountains.

    The Falcon flashed overhead, banking slightly when it passed one of the larger fountains, the tip of one wing brushed against the surface, sending a wave of water into the street.  It accelerated away, banking between two buildings and disappearing from sight.

    Deidra stared at the fleeing bird.  A Falcon Titan?

    An angry roar sounded from the other side of the street.  Jargon dried his soaked costume with a wave of his hands, effectively ruining the floating feather illusion.  "FIND THAT THING!"  The Dragon Master yelled at a dragon spawn who stepped out of the crowd.

    "Right away, Dragon Master"  The heavily armored dragon spawn gestured to the group he was with.  All of them assumed their Archon forms and took to the air.

    The surrounding crowds grew even louder, at first thinking the giant falcon was part of the spectacle.

    "You chose an opportune time to move away from the fountains,"  Tai'Qui spoke to Deidra, her voice barely a whisper.

    "As did you,"  Deidrea replied softly.

    The sound of a predator screamed through the city, the Falcon appeared again, leveling out over the road as it approached the procession at impossible speeds.

    [SkyKing Challenge] All fliers must resist the SkyKing or be rendered flightless for thirty seconds.

    The Archons fell out of the sky like raindrops, dropping into fountains, onto buildings, and into the streets.

    The Falcon sped away, disappearing through the entrance to Solomon City.

    Jargo Kane changed into his dragon form, roaring in anger as it shot flames high into the sky.  "PURSUE HIM! I want that bird brought to me in pieces!"

    "Stop,"  Deidra spoke from the far side of the street.  "You will not enter Solomon City."

    Chiba clapped loudly from her bench.  Her beautiful face was blushed from drinking.  "Nix is going to be sorry he missed this!"

    Beta nodded in agreement.  Dragons doused with water and Archons falling of the sky.  "I'm already looking forward to next year."

    Wind watched as Jargon tried to argue with Deidra, instead of listening she opened a breach and disappeared from sight.  After a few moments, the rest of the dragons did the same until only Jargon remained.  "That's one big dragon."

    Beta nodded, Jargon the Gold was the largest of his kind.  Even so, he wouldn't dare go against Deidra. "I guess it's over?"

    As soon as he entered Solomon City, Nix cast [Twisted Air], the Titan Falcon's stealth ability.  He returned to his original perch at the House of Tempest and landed neatly on the platform.
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