420 Easy Days

    Nix clicked the second to last tile down on the table, his yellow eyes filled with humor. "That would be 'last domino' gentlemen."

    "Shit..."  Pon glanced down at his dominoes, he wasn't even close to going out.  "Guess I'm drawing."  He picked up a tile and placed it in his holder.  "Pass.  My luck is crap."

    Wind nodded in agreement and sat a tile down.  "Last domino."

    "Nice try, but too little, too late."  Nix placed his last tile on the table. "We have a winna."

    Pon leaned back on the cushioned chair.  "I use to be good at this game."

    "You guys going to eat lunch?"  Hyai's voice called from downstairs.

    Nix looked at the other two before answering.  "Yes!"

    "Can't say no to Hyai's cooking."  Pon frowned when he said it.  "Semmi burns everything, and I'm worthless in the kitchen."

    Wind nodded in agreement.  "She does, you'd think she was a fire mage."

    "Can't have everything.  She's already smart and funny."  Nix started gathering up the tiles and stacking them in a wooden box that the Guild carpenter Lena made for him before she became Shipwright Lena. She had also made the dominoes.  "Any word how Lena is doing in Izzin?"

    Wind shook his head.  "No word."

    "Same here," Pon agreed.  "I bet Darsi knows, they both came from the Gladis Hub."

    Nix stretched his arms over his head.  He spent the early morning fishing.  Both Jun Li and Semmi had success, while he was blanked. When he emerged from his post-fishing shower, he discovered Pon and Wind playing dominoes on his 'black table.'  "How'd you choose that name, Pon?"

    The old mage shrugged. "It was either Pon or Cuppiecake Ninja."  [Reader Shout-out!]

    Wind made a face.  "I think you made the wrong choice."

    Nix chuckled and got to his feet.  "I agree."


    The three men came down the stairs a few minutes later.  Fajii went with Ronnie and Bali to Free Trader City while Mina accompanied Nansu in a search for sea-herbs.  Mina's Vilas were very good at finding the herb, and they added security to what might otherwise be dangerous.

    "Dining room or kitchen island, Hun,"  Hyai asked?

    "Island, there's only five of us."  Nix motioned for Wind and Pon to have a seat while he walked around the island to the fridge.  "What should I do?"

    Hyai shook her head.  "You should sit, we got this."

    Shae scurried into the kitchen from the pantry.  "Too many cooks isn't good!"

    Nix made a face.  "You're letting Shae cook?"

    The salamander's arms wrapped around Nix's waist from behind him. "What's that mean?"

    Nix shrugged slightly.  "I hope you confiscated her ghost peppers before you let her near the food."

    Hyai frowned slightly.  "Should I have?

    /Men's club: Nix: Be careful.  Shae thinks ghost peppers are candy.

    /Men's club: Pon: After we eat, I want to see Hyai's Djinn companion.  She can fly when they merge?

    /Men's club: Nix: Yeah, it looks like a standard orange flame but they are higher-tiered.

    /Men's club: Wind: That Djinn is a top-end companion.

    /Men's club: Nix: Don't even speak.  You have the King.

    /Men's club: Pon: Yeah... bastard.

    /Men's club: Wind: Morti came back last night?

    /Men's club: Nix: Yeah, Scarlett and Mortimus brought him to Nescari.  I thought I'd give them some time together.


    Nix was tempted to make Pon cover his eyes but he couldn't look away long enough to say anything to him.  Hyai's companion summoning was like nothing anyone from Inferno had ever seen.  Instead of a partner to fight alongside you, her companion melded with her.

    Hyai floated easily about ten feet off the ground. Her clothes disappeared during the summoning, her voluptuous form covered only in orange flames, even the hair on her hair resembled a forest fire.  You couldn't quite see her skin, but the outline was there beneath the flames.

    "What do you think, Nix?"  Hyai's normal voice changed slightly, it had the barest raspy sound to it.

    "Orange flames, but much higher tier than they should be.  Almost like my Phoenix flames." Nix turned toward Shae who was studying them with great interest.

    The iridescent salamander seemed fascinated by the change. "The Gemini Djinn is breathtaking. Try using a flame strand on her."

    Nix nodded and moved closer. "Going to wrap a regular flame strand around your ankle."

    Hyai moved closer to him. "Go ahead."

    Nix shot out a strand of orange flames that wrapped around gently around Hyai's ankle. The strands immediately matched the darker orange of her flames. "Flame absorption?"

    Shae nodded.  "Try silver flames."

    Nix pushed silver flames into the strands, immediately the strands turned orange.  "Her orange are rated higher than silver flames."

    Shae morphed into her Archon form and moved next to Hyai. "Try Gemini Flames."

    When the Gemini flames strand touched Hyai, her own orange flames turned into Gemini flames.  Nix could see the pulsating flames flickering at her form.  "She mirrored them."

    Nix shut the strands off and motioned for Hyai to follow him. He trotted into the house, Hyai and Shae followed.

    "Something wrong?" Hyai followed up him the stairs to the bedroom where he had brought up a map of the area around Khione's territory.

    Shae and Hyai took a seat on either side of Nix, they were looking at a topographical map of the area that they would be eventually be raiding.

    Nix stared hard at Khione's peak.  "What's that look like to you?"

    Shae zoomed in on the range.  "It's mountains Nix, covered in ice."

    Nix nodded in agreement.  "You saw what Hyai did right?"

    Shae nodded.  "Flame transference.  The Gemini Djinn has a natural flame, but is also a conduit to higher-tiered flames."

    "They all feel the same to me."  Hyai studied the map.  "What are you thinking?"

    "You don't burn any mana just holding the flames.  That means you might be able to hold Fury Flames indefinitely."

    Hyai shrugged slightly.  "Those are the sonic flames?"

    Nix nodded. "I don't use them very often outside of my spellsword blade because they eat through my mana in seconds."

    "What's your plan here?" Shae stopped looking at the topographical map and turned her gaze toward Nix.  "What would Hyai do with Fury flames?"

    "Blow the top off of Khione's peak, turn the whole area into a crater."

    "You're talking about what Severence did at the Lapu crater?  That was different Nix, that volcanoes still had the rumblings of power beneath it." Shae smiled at Hyai, the three women who loved Nix also shared a close bond.  "Having that peak erupt would be an issue for us as well."

    Nix shook his head slightly.  "Khione is planning and building her strength, the same way we are.  I mean to hit her now, but I need to speak with an Earth mage."

    "A preemptive strike?"  Shae shook her head slightly.  "Doesn't that put Hyai in too much danger?"

    "I'll do my part,"  Hyai spoke quietly.  "I'm not as strong as either of you, but I'm part of this fight.  I passed my planar trial, so if something were to happen I'd respawn at the Greater House."

    Nix used the black table's interface to contact Tai'Qui. [Direct Holocom: Tai'Qui]

    A holo image of Tai'Qui appeared over the top of the table.  The Earth dragon was obviously in her mud bath.  Only her bare shoulders and red bandanna were visible in the dark brown bubbling mass.

    Nix got right to the point.  "I've shown you my fury flames before, I have a plan, but I need an Earth elemental's opinion."

    Tai nodded. "Give me a few minutes and I'll visit you."

    [Alert: User Nix, Tai'Qui is attempting to open a Breach within the perimeter of this home.]

    Nix and Shae shared a look, could the Turtle House stop a dragon from traveling here?

    "I'll allow it this time."


    Jargon Kane studied Deidra's image.  Jargon the Gold was sitting in the House of Kane office, his fine golden robes and short black hair presented a rather impressive appearance, or so he thought. "Have you considered my petition?"

    "No."  Deidra's usual cold demeanor was on full display.  As someone chosen for Krelandur, it was her decision on which dragon she would mate with.  "You aren't on my shortlist of candidates. You aren't even on my long list."

    "Krelandur is your obligation to birth the strongest dragons, it is not subject to the foolish whims of attraction."

    "I refuse. Absolutely refuse.  Is that clear?"  Deidra held a strong dislike for Jargon the Gold, although he was must larger than her, she was confident that she was stronger.  It had been one of the memorable moments of her life to see him splashed with water at the City Master parade.

    "I'm afraid I must insist.  My champion will present my case for me."

    Deidra raised an eyebrow.  Her champion was Elen Mtui, someone who had defeated Jargon's champion several times.  They weren't on the same level.  "Very well."

    Deidra closed the conversation without speaking further.  Why would he even bother petitioning?  She opened a direct contact to her son, but for some reason, it didn't open.


    "That's an interesting idea, Nix.  You want to manipulate the pressures and reroute the molten rock beneath Khione's peak."

    Nix nodded, Tai had understood his thought process as soon as he started talking.  His Fury Flames were capable of super-heating the molten rock that existed deep underground.  "Can we do it?"

    Tai shrugged slightly.  "The area has to be scouted.  Khione may have placed Ice Seeds or other deterrents beneath her mountain. I'll send my Earth Worms into the area."

    Nix had never seen Tai's Earth minions, but he knew these particular earth elementals were a few hundred feet long.  "Thank you."
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