19 Rescue the Prisoners part two
Kyla sat next to Nez while they both stared at the Aquarion camp. The raid on Cyphix had happened so quickly, she hadn't even grabbed a weapon. The gunsmith had run out into the street when she heard a scream and immediately was struck down by a blow to the head. When she woke, the cleric next to her was treating her wound. The hopelessness of the situation was starting to seep in. The pretty redhead wiped her tears. She thought about the man who had come to her shop a few weeks ago and had made her a dress. She'd only been able to wear it once. She bit her lip to keep from crying, once the Aquarions took you...
Nix and Soup headed straight toward the smaller Aquarion camp. He didn't flee when they first spotted him, instead, he pretended to panic and gave them ample opportunity to respond to his presence. Then he had soup bank to one side and head in the opposite direction. All eight Aquarions from the camp gave chase.
At the main camp, near the prisoners, all three scouts struck at the same time, according to their own style. Semmi and Rival cut the throat of their targets, while Wind stabbed his dagger into the base of the skull.
The Aquarion Main camp responded to the Nix sighting by turning their attention outward just long enough for the scouts to kill all the human guards.
"It's a distraction! They're after the prisoners!" An Aquarion Matriarch stepped toward the center of the camp, both of her hands bathed in blue light.
At this time the Aquarion camp was struck on two sides in a pincer attack, for a moment it was complete pandemonium.
Sharl and Pon sighted the Matriarch at the same time. The dark woman flashed toward the target, her flaming spear drawn.
"Pon, soften that bitch up!"
The old fire mage saw that the Matriarch was about to cast, and quickly cast wall of flames, making her take a step backward. Ronnie who was following Ton while he pushed toward the captives, spared a glance back and sent a three-shot burst into the Matriarch's back with her speargun. The Aquarion leader twisted in surprise exposing herself just long enough for Sharl's spear to find her throat. The Daybreaker guild leader stabbed through her and pinned her to the ground. Fire roared from Pon's hands as he baptized the water creature in flames.
The camp's only Matriarch had been taken down, seconds into the fight. The camp's center had become a bloody mess, human's from Burning Sea were slaughtered by the assault teams. Wind and Rival defended Semmi while she disabled the Stasis Pen. With the magic dampening field of the Stasis Pen turned off, both Cyan and Nez instantly bathed in yellow light.
Semmi spotted the target that Tilde had been tracking. She tossed the gunsmith a rifle and then defended an attack from a sword-wielding Aquarion. Kyla grabbed the weapon and along with Cyan and Nez joined the fight.
"Phaedra! The main camp is under attack!"
The young Aquarion woman scowled at her underling. "Matriarch Selune is there. What could possibly happen?" Normally she would have returned right away, but she had recognized the human. It was the same one who had snatched the Manta eggs and stolen her Ricoli Bracer. The Matriarch had given her another, but the humiliation of being bested by a human had been hard to take. Had it not been for her family's rank, she would have most likely been punished severely.
"You ready Soup?" The pair sped past the ambush spot, they had let their lead slowly dwindle over the last few minutes.
The Black Sea Turtles surged upward from the thickly weeded floor and slammed into the Aquarion pursuit from underneath.
Soup banked hard and charged into them while Nix kicked free of its shell and flashed toward the target. Nix had three flame strands on her before he recognized her as the woman from the Manta nests. This time, there would be no mercy.
The seven remaining Aquarions were no match for the sea turtles. Although Nix had killed many sea turtles himself, that had always been on land. In the water, it was a completely different story. The Aquarions were instantly torn apart and then consumed.
Phaedra howled in anger while her squad was eliminated. She collapsed to her knees begging for her life. "Cai-song... Spare me and I will tell you!"
Nix dropped the flame strands. He spotted another Sea-Beast bracelet on her wrist, he promptly tore it off and stowed it away. "Trying to trick me again? Tell me something that I'll believe."
"The Cai-Song is an Aquarion artifact that changes male babies into female babies."
Nix stared at the Aquarion, not sure if she was speaking the truth. "Sorry, I don't believe you." He raised a hand that suddenly was glowing orange.
"Wait! It's true, all Aquarion babies are inherently male." Phaedra's face was a picture of misery, forced to give away their races secret to protect her life.
Nix considered the idea, what did this have to do with them grabbing human females? "Keep talking."
"In order for the artifact to work, a pregnant Aquarion is placed on the artifacts altar."
"I have a feeling that you are skirting around the issue. I'll let you go if you tell me everything. Or else you'll be turtle food."
"There's a second altar. A female human of a certain age must be placed on it."
"You use our females to change the gender of Aquarion babies before they are born? What happens then?"
"Nothing happens then, the Aquarion returns home and has her baby naturally."
"Why take the women from Cyphix? None of them fit the age requirements of your previous abductions."
"It's getting more difficult to successfully reach our quotas of human females..." She trailed off without finishing.
Nix felt a thud in his stomach, he swallowed the bitter taste to keep from retching. "You were planning to breed them, like cattle?"
Phaedra didn't dare answer, she knew her life hung in the balance.
"And the men from the Burning Sea? Volunteers, I suppose?"
"Leave now, my word is good I won't harm y..."
Soup flashed toward her, his beak latched onto her throat and with a quick twist, her head separated from her body. Her limbs were spasming as her body slowly fell.
Colonial System Message: The Aquarion race has been capturing human females for nefarious purposes. To read the official announcement, please open your hud now.
[Quest Completion: Aquarion Attacks]
[You have raised your Hidden Faction level to Ally]
[For Exposing the Aquarion Abductions to the World you have received the title of Knight of Colonia]
[You have been Awarded the World Seed.]
Jun Li and Semmi watched as Sharl distributed their share of the loot. The wounded had been healed and morale was high. By any standard, the raid had been an amazing success.
Semmi stole a glance at Wind, the Daybreakers scout was cleaning his weapon on the far side of the camp. "We underestimated how strong the Daybreakers are."
Jun Li nodded in agreement. "Sharl held down an Aquarion Matriarch by herself, while their fire mage slow-roasted her."
A movement from the edge of the camp caught Semmi's attention. A man riding a sea turtle entered and was heading towards the center. "He made it back."
"Looks like he's uninjured," Junie glanced sideways at her friend. "Sure would like to pull him into the Salamanders"
Both Ronnie and Sharl had their backs to him when he entered camp, he was nearly on top of them before they noticed.
"Nix!" Ronnie flung herself at him and hugged him. "You made it back!"
"Sure. It was cake." He accepted a hug from Sharl and then waited while the rest of the leaders made their way toward them. "The group that was chasing me broke off the pursuit when the camp fell. Not sure where they went."
"Great Job Nix!" Ton's boom voice resumed its previous loudness, he shook Nix's hand while pounding him on the back.
Jun Li and Semmi were all smiles. It the end they had gained quite a bit from the raid, including advancement to the second floor of stage four. Jun Li shook his hand, "I hope we can continue to cooperate Nix."
Semmi smiled sweetly, "I'll put in my clothes order when we get back."
Nix returned her smile but didn't say anything. He held out the Mount Bracelet and placed it in Ton's hands. "I'm giving this to the Provost Office, the Daybreakers, and the Salamander Guild."
The three commanders stared at him in shock. Sharl seemed the least surprise but her face showed her curiosity.
"You three led your people here and risked the most. I've already profited from it, so I've decided your three organizations should share it equally." Nix shrugged at their expressions, "I'll leave the details to you."
"Nix..." Jun Li wasn't surprised by people very often.
He smiled and left them all staring at each other while he walked toward the center of camp. The survivors were all sitting a circle, they looked tired but very happy.
Kyla had heard everyone talking. It had been Nix who brought the others together in an effort to save them. "Thank you, Nix"
"Your welcome. Did you get your dress back?"
"Yes... Did you go through my clothes?" Kyla covered her blushing face with both hands. "Now you know that's my only dress!"
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Nix laughed at her expression. "I expect my forty percent discount now."
Kyla made a face at him, "twenty percent stinker..."
The ride back to Cyphix was peaceful. The captives doubled up with their rescuers. Cyan was standing next to Nix while they rode his White Manta.
"I want to thank you personally also Nix. Now that I know what they were planning." She shuddered when she thought of it.
"Time to heal and put that behind you." Nix grabbed her hand and squeezed it.
Cyan stared at the City as they approached. "It's much brighter from the air."
Many cheers came from the street when the entire group circled once and then landed outside the gates. Friends and family of the prisoners rushed out to embrace them. Nix stowed his manta in the Sea-Beast stable and bid goodbye to Cyan.
He walked toward the town gates, many people were patting him on the back and offering congratulations while he walked. He spotted Sila crying loudly while she hugged Nez close. Nix smiled and sighed contently. He hadn't done many good things in his life, this had a nice feeling.
Hyai was waiting for him when he entered the Inn. "Upstairs you go. There's a hot meal and a bath waiting for you."
"Sounds good." He let her pull him up the stairs to the Luxury Suite. It had a sizable bed and a fireplace that was burning. The warmth of the room made him instantly sleepy.
"Do you like it? From now on, this is your room." Hyai pulled out a chair for him at the small table and poured him some wine. "There's a private bath through that door, I'll help you after you eat."
Nix looked down at the large steak and fresh vegetables. "Spoiling me Hyai?"
Hyai sat down across from him and pour herself some wine. "Haven't even started to yet."