454 A Friend Resurfaces

    [All Elemental abilities are disabled.]

    [Communications have been disrupted]

    [Hud use is disabled]

    [Personal Messenging has been disabled.]

    Rat-Nix instantly stealthed and scurried off of the small platform.  "Of course.  Why make it easy?"

    Rather than drop the rat puppet and come in hard, he decided instead to scout around.  According to Ducky, there should be a Necromancer somewhere close by and Raya had to be located as well.

    "The hell is this..."  Nix squinted in the bright light, he'd been expected darkness perhaps even another underground fortress of some kind.  The portal platform was placed on another much larger square, when he moved to the edge and peered over into a vast empty sky, the rat-king felt his stomach sink.

    Movement from the portal drew his attention, two men stepped off the platform and started walking toward a wide rope ladder that descended into the clouds below.  One of the men turned toward him and raised his arms.

    [Your Nether Rat Emperor puppet has been slain]

    Nix scowled and sat up, pushing aside the Orion that was laying beside him.  "Bastard killed my damn puppet, one shot..."

    Pon glanced at Wind, both of them were holding back their amusement.  Nix had a strange attachment to his rats.  "One shotted it?  With what?'

    Nix shook his head and climbed to his feet.  "At first I thought it was a gun, but there was no noise so perhaps a crossbow of some sort."

    The old man shrugged slightly.  "Time to go in then."

    "Nope."  Nix grinned at the old fire mage, he was tempted to send him in.  "Not a favorable matchup for you old man.  Elemental abilities are disabled, and all comm is down."

    Pon grimaced slightly and raised his hands up in mock surrender.  "I'm out."

    "Fey and Ducky will stay here also, if necessary I'll bring Morti in."  Nix turned toward Chiba who was already belting her sword on.  "Want your ring?"

    Chiba shook her head.  "No, if Milamber is walking around, I want him to see me."

    "I'm in too."  Wind was all ready to go, he gave Pon a sly grin.  "Put those flames to use and cook us something while we're gone."

    Nix considered the group for a moment.  When he became a Black Ice Nemesis a few weeks earlier, his primary path had changed from Fire to Elemental.  Having his elemental abilities blocked was bothersome, but he wasn't nearly as limited as Pon.

    /Alpha: Nix: I'd like to take one more, but who?

    /Alpha: Pon: Vooni, Shae, Fajii... all elemental based. How about Sharl?

    /Alpha: Nix: She's still helping  Floyd.  Jun Li maybe?

    /Alpha: Wind: Semmi also.  I think Ronnie and Bali need some time off.

    [Whisper: Pon to Nix] We're supposed to be taking a few days off.  If you ask Jun Li or Semmi, you'll get an earful.

    [Direct Contact: Fajii]

    A moment later Fajii's image appeared in front of them.  She smiled when she saw him.  "Hey, Nix."

    Nix could tell she was leaning against the balcony rail at his ranch.  "Need a non-elemental for a short mission."

    "A mission?  Aren't you resting a bit?" Fajii glanced to one side, a moment later, a second holo appeared next to hers.

    Shae's warm brown eyes stared at him for a moment.  "A non-elemental?  Semmi or Jun Li would be the best choice.  Is this something big?"

    "Big?"  Nix shook his head slightly.  "Not really, just a personal errand."

    The two holos shared a look before Fajii nodded her head.  "Open a breach to the balcony."

    Nix waved and cut comm before they could ask any more questions.

    [Create Breach: Haven: Belatora]

    A breach appeared in the tent and a moment later a woman with brown armor and a single braid hanging halfway down her back, stepped through. Her hair was slightly darker than last time Nix had seen her, somewhere between dark blonde and a light brown.

    Pon coughed loudly. "Welcome to Belatora, Tura Raine."

    /Alpha: Chiba: This the new wife?

    /Alpha:Pon: I'm so glad I didn't stay in Haven.

    "Just Raine is fine." She offered Nix a hesitant smile. "Thank you for inviting me."

    "Raine..." Nix struggled to keep the frown off of his face.

    Chiba gestured toward the tent entrance. "We'll be outside, Nix"

    /Alpha: Pon: I want to stay!

    /Alpha: Wind: Go, Nix has to sort this out.

    The Fir'Dhassi approached him and offered her hand. "I'm glad we had this chance to travel together so soon."

    Nix shook her hand, perhaps Fajii hadn't spoken to her yet? "My errand is slightly dangerous, I can't bring someone whose death would be permanent."

    Raine nodded as if understanding. "Taking care of your people is the sign of a good leader."

    Nix breathed a sigh of relief. "Then you understand."

    Raine held up a hand before he could continue. "I'm bound at the Greater House of Inferno, in Solomon City."

    "Er... You've completed the planar trials?"

    Raine nodded.  "Yesterday, Shae set it up for me."

    "You're a Wrath, right?  Unfortunately the place I'm going seals elemental abilities." Nix shrugged helplessly.  "Even Pon is taking a break on this one."

    "I don't hold true elemental power.  I can root, but I don't use the wood element, the same way I can summon a sandstorm without having the air element."  Rain frowned slightly.  "Perhaps you underestimate me?"

    /Alpha: Nix: Come in here Master.

    Nix bowed slightly.  "My Master will cross blades with you, she will determine if you can go.  I feel like my judgment in this matter may be clouded."

    Chiba entered a moment later, she smiled at the young pair.  "Are we done?"

    The soft ringing of a blade being drawn from its scabbard answered the question, Raine stood casually with her sword in one hand.  "Nix requires a test."

    /Alpha: Nix: Just a quick spar, dissuade her from coming.  I'll wait outside.

    /Alpha: Wind: And there's the boss... passing the buck.

    /Alpha: Pon: Lame. You gotta put your foot down boy!  That's how I handle my business.

    /Alpha: Wind: Remind us again what the name of your beer is called?  Was it Semmi's Golden?

    /Alpha: Nix: Get ready, we are going in.

    A few minutes later, Chiba and Raine exited the tent.  The two women were chatting like old friends.

    Raine has joined Alpha.

    [Whisper: Chiba to Nix] She's coming.

    [Whisper: Nix to Chiba] You were supposed to dissuade her.  Maybe I used a strange word... It means to convince her to stay here!

    [Whisper: Chiba to Nix]  Her blademaster is Delyn Xai, I've never crossed swords with him but his abilities are well known.  I would rate Raine and Jun Li at a similar level.

    /Alpha: Nix: Welcome.  Follow directions and don't hesitate to ask for help if you get in trouble.

    Nix had no reason for not allowing her to go, they needed a blade and if Chiba said she was good enough, he'd take her word for it.

    Nix opened a breach and motioned his team through.  Pon's **-eating grin was the last thing he saw before he followed them.  "Don't ** around old man, wipe out the rest of Aledo's men."

    Pon nodded.  "You got it."

    [All Elemental abilities are disabled.]

    [Communications have been disrupted]

    [Hud use is disabled]

    [Personal Messenging has been disabled.]

    Nix scowled at the place where his rat had died, whoever did it left it lying there with a bolt through its head. He picked it up and stowed it in his inventory.  "Stay within speaking range."

    "That seems less than safe."  Chiba motioned to the single rope bridge that descended into the clouds, visibly swaying in the strong winds.

    "Wind will take point, I'll bring up the rear."  Nix wanted to bring Morti in, but his size on the rope bridge seemed like it would be precarious at best.

    The group descended, placing a hand on the person in front of them when they could no longer see.   The Gemini thief kept one hand on the rope rail to guide him.  After several minutes the clouds slowly started to dissipate and the rope bridge ended.

    [Team and Personal messaging have been restored.]

    "Please present your tokens."  A bald male wearing black armor stood under the arched exit of the rope bridge, two small horns coming out of his forehead announced his identity as a dragon spawn.  Although his manner was professional, he was obviously struggling not to stare at Chiba.

    The blonde swordmaster smiled slightly.  "Hey, handsome.  We're meeting someone, remind me what the tokens are?"

    /Alpha: Wind: Kill him?

    /Alpha: Nix: Wait.

    "Either you or the person meeting you has to show their heritage ring for you to gain access to Tembai." The bald dragon spawn rested one hand lightly on the hilt of his sword.  "You will have to leave otherwise."

    Nix stepped forward and held out one of the rings he took from Jargon Kane's desk.  "I have it here."

    *******Authors Reminder***********

    In chapter 429, Inferno broke into the secured Dragon City of Jargon Kane to rescue Breach Commander Mtui who was being held as leverage over Deidra because Kane was trying to get Krelandur mating rights. Rat-Nix stole the rings along with the vials of draconian.


    The man looked at the ring and nodded before stepping to one side.  "Welcome to Tembai.  I assume you are here for the tournament?"

    "I'll take it from here.  These people are my guests."  A veiled woman, with elegant white wings, spoke from above them, she landed lightly in front of the group and furled her wings.

    [You have entered the Tembai Academy]

    [Elemental abilities have been restored.]

    [All Archon abilities have been disabled]

    /Alpha: Wind: Pon's going to be pissed.

    /Alpha: Chiba: Do we know this person?

    /Alpha: Wind: She seems familiar.

    /Alpha: Nix: Yep.  We know her.

    The veiled woman motioned for them to follow, one finger held up to stop any questions. She had bright green hair worn very short.  She led the way down the path until they arrived at a heavy gate that was opened.  A single table was placed across the entrance with two men sitting behind it.

    "Mistress Chelonia, it was my understanding that you weren't bringing a team to this year's trial." Both men were dragon spawn and looked enough alike that they could easily be brothers.

    The veiled woman motioned for Alpha team to advance past.  "I wasn't expecting them to arrive in time."

    Una Chelonia has joined Alpha.

    /Alpha: Nix: Did you regain dragon form?

    /Alpha: Una: It's a long story, but if you know where Tharaka is, you should tell him to take the planar trials as soon as possible.

    /Alpha: Wind: I'm sorry, I don't remember you.

    /Alpha: Nix: This is Una. When we defeated the Nighthag in Thornwood Keep, I animated her into the puppet made by Kellix Warden. She took the surname of Chelonia at that time.

    /Alpha: Wind: Right, now I remember.

    /Alpha: Una: It's not safe to talk here.  Follow me back to my compound.


    Author's reminder: Unaqoir the Dragon Master of Verynzai was a prisoner of Menial when she first met Nix \u0026 Gil in Chapter 294.  After killing Menial and destroying the Pandemonium artifact, Nix put her in a Direwolf Puppet where she stayed until Chapter 307.  The Pandemonium artifact was the reason none of the Titans could change. When she was placed into the Air Elemental puppet at the conclusion of the Thornwood Keep raid, she took the name Una Chelonia.
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