422 Blessings of Air part one

    "You okay?"  Rhy's dark eyes were filled with concern. The Air Palace Champion looked thoroughly discombobulated.

    Nix gave her a disgusted look but didn't comment. 'This will be easy,' she said.  He spent the better part of two hours being buffeted by gale-force winds.  Black feathers had sprouted out all over his body and stayed like that long enough to scare the crap out of him. Finally, they were absorbed directly into his skin in what could only be described as excruciatingly painful.

    Rhy placed a hand next to his face, her slim fingers feeling the breeze that still swirled around him.  "Nix... Air and Fire Nemesis have always worked well together. To have one person with both of those abilities is amazing."

    "I'm not sure I like you anymore."  Nix started dressing, doing his best to ignore Rhy's laughter.

    Cal, Tor, and Shadai landed nearby and approached with their parents.  Milabu's sharp eyes studied Nix for several moments before he looked at Rhy.  "You didn't finish the Manifesting?"

    Rhy shook her head slightly.  "No.  In order to get the best results, Air and Ice should be done at the same time."

    Nix frowned slightly.  "What's that mean?  We aren't done?"

    "Manifesting is when your abilities cause you to develop new spells.  Right now, you would have had several Air Nemesis level spells."

    Nix was feeling mildly irritated with the Air Nemesis.  "I don't have them?"

    "Air Manifestations are set until you rank up to the next level.  For instance, you will gain a spell called 'Breeze.'  If we manifested your air ability now, you would receive 'Breeze' and the Fire/Air version called 'Sun Gusts.'  However, you wouldn't get the Air/Ice version called 'Arctic Winds,' because your Ice abilities haven't been ranked to Nemesis."

    "My Ice abilities are still at the Lord rank."

    Rhy nodded in agreement.  "Which means you'd get a version called 'Cool winds,' which is vastly inferior."

    "I see.  You're trying to maximize my abilities because Air blends so well with both Ice and Fire."

    "Yes. There are going to be several overwrites as it is."  Rhy laid a hand on his shoulder and leaned toward him.  "I wouldn't have known any of this if Deidra hadn't told me. By waiting until after Ice is ranked up, you will receive the castings of three Nemesis elements."

    "Hmmm... She did volunteer to do both at the same time."  Nix finally stopped sulking and offered her a smile.  "Thank you for your hard work."

    Milabu handed Nix a small blue ring.  "This is for you, Air Champion."

    Aerial Dominance: [Spell Bank, Air Only]


    Description: Store up to five spells that can be

    cast instantly without being blocked or disrupted.

    Spell bank may be discharged while under controlling


    Additional Enhancement: +100 to Flying speed.

    "What's this for?"  Nix inspected the ring; one look made his heart pound.  This could be discharged while stunned or feared or even mezzed.  It would be the ultimate sneak attack when your opponent thought you were down.

    "Your contribution."  Milabu handed Nix plain-looking amulet.  "Wear this and cast the Burst spell that you used to accelerate."

    Nix grinned suddenly and equipped the ring first.  "Don't come crying to me if it's a dud."

    He walked to the edge of the stone island when he was within a few meters. He felt the default wings sprout again. It took all of his will to not say, 'up, up and away!'

    [Air Burst]

    Nix rocketed away from the island. Apparently, the strength of the casting improved when he ranked up. He flew back leisurely while doing a bit of self-examining.  He detected a breeze swirling around himself, much like his flame aura, he could turn it off at will.

    When he returned to the group a few minutes later, Milabu asked for the amulet back. "What does that do?"

    "Stores the processes involved in the casting.  This way, we can pass it on to all of Air'Voilla."  Milabu grinned widely.  "Contributions are rare nowadays; an accelerated movement ability is very nice."

    "Can I name it?  How about Turbo Charge?  Or maybe Boosted!  Or perhaps..." He stopped when Rhy shook her head.

    "The name is recorded already."  Rhy grabbed his hand, "Fly with me for a bit before I send you back."

    Nix nodded and bid a quick goodbye to the Arch Winds.  A few minutes later, they were gliding side-by-side in the clear skies of Air'Voilla.  "Something up, Rhy?"

    "You may now grant someone the Blessing of Air; you should do this before you rank up your Ice abilities."

    "Really?  I didn't do that with Fire."

    "I'm not sure about that.  You manifested in the Gemini Temple; afterward, you gave Jun Li the Blessing of the Gemini.  The Blessing of the Gemini is stronger than the Blessing of Flames, so it took precedence."

    "If I don't bless someone with Air before ranking up my Ice, I'll lose it?"

    "Correct.  The Ice blessing is considered stronger than air."

    "Damn... I could have given Wind or Semmi the fire blessing."  Nix was silent for a few moments before he continued.  "Who should I pick?"

    Rhy dipped a wing and bumped him playfully.  "That's up to you.  It's a great addition to the Fire and Ice elements, but can also be given to someone without an element."

    "I'll consider the options carefully."  Nix pulled into a hover while Rhy opened up a wind tunnel to the Glory Island.  "Thanks for the help!"

    Rhy waved and watched as he flew into the tunnel.  "Let me know when you are done."


    /Ratpack: Shae: Nix has the best things.

    /Ratpack: Hyai: I thought these things were weak; night vision, stealth, and dominate.  The three of us could walk into any city and turn it upside down.

    /Ratpack: Fajii: Nix says that the self-destruct on an emperor pet will kill most bosses.

    Shae led the way through the growing darkness; the rats moved in single file about a meter apart.  Quite a few times, they ran into smaller predators who fled from the scent of them.  Rat-Shae stopped in a small gully; she could sense the presence of other rats.

    Shae has activated [Dominate]

    14 Rats are now under Shae's control.

    /Ratpack: Shae: I'll stay here.  Fajii circle west around the camp, and Hyai will head east.  Grab more rats and then meet back here. I won't move until you get back.

    Hyai moved eastward, scurrying through the darkness, her rat senses on full alert.  There was something terribly fun about inhabiting the Nether Rat puppet.  Being safe in her bed in Ionova was also very comforting, with the element of danger gone, it was easier to focus completely.

    Rat-Hyai stopped suddenly; she could sense the presence of rats nearby, but not an overwhelming presence.  It was the coppery scent of blood that gave her pause.

    /Ratpack: Hyai: I smell blood.

    /Ratpack: Fajii: Fresh kill?  Or maybe slaughtered animals from the camp?

    /Ratpack: Hyai:  Human.

    Hyai shuddered slightly, not sure how she could discern the difference.  The fur on the back of her neck was standing on end.

    /Ratpack: Shae: Coming from camp?

    /Ratpack: Hyai: No, the trail leads away from camp.

    /Ratpack: Fajii: Our mission is to scout the camp.

    /Ratpack: Hyai: It feels odd somehow.

    /Ratpack: Shae: Finish getting your rat minions, and we'll come to you.

    When Shae found Hyai half an hour later, Fajii had already joined her.  Hyai had a dozen rats while the alchemist had twenty.

    /Ratpack: Shae: Let's follow the trail.  If it takes more than an hour, we'll head back and finish scouting.

    /Ratpack: Fajii: Agreed.

    /Ratpack: Hyai: Okay.

    Rat-Hyai sniffed the trail a few times and then headed south in a straight line.  The blood splatter wasn't like a bleeding wound, but rather like someone who had repeatedly fallen to the ground.

    /Ratpack: Shae: Drag marks.  This person has been captured by someone.

    /Ratpack: Fajii: These Clans have been warring with each other since the Dragon Cities were brought into the air.  Raiding and taking captives are part of their culture.

    Hyai followed the trail for several more minutes before she stopped suddenly.  All three of them heard it at the same time, cruel laughter and moans of pain."

    A small river curved sharply, forming a nearly perfect 'U' shape.  It was in this mini-peninsula that the campfire burned.  A woman lay in plain view, her face disfigured by beatings, she was bound securely around the ankles, knees, and wrists.  A single rope connected the wrist and ankle bindings.

    /Ratpack: Shae: He hides from the camp.

    /Ratpack: Hyai: How do you know?

    /Ratpack: Shae: He's torn up the brush and placed it on the north side of his Fire.  Normally you could see campfires for miles at night, but he's making sure the camp doesn't spot him.

    /Ratpack: Fajii: I'm going in.

    /Ratpack: Shae: We'll move closer and standby.
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