27 Settling Sea-World
"I have her." Nix broke the news matter of factly. "I know Salamander wants her back, but that will never happen."
Jun Li stared at the man sitting in front of her desk at their Guild Hall. "The Salamander Guild has been looking for her for weeks, we've expended thousands of manhours and countless resources trying to recover her."
Nix shrugged, "the quicker you come to terms with her permanent departure, the easier it will be."
"Nix, I have a board that I answer to. It's an easy thing for them to remove me from this position."
"Worthless... A small guild named Ravenous helps a wounded Fire Lord, then in an act of betrayal enslaves her, profits immensely and even dares calls itself Salamander."
"Those weren't my choices Nix! I wanted to make things better for her!"
"I see, then you aren't really the Guild Leader, are you? Just a very attractive figurehead who does what she's told."
Jun Li stared at her desk, her face pale. Semmi had told her much the same thing when they would argue. Since welcoming corporate sponsors, Ravenous had grown into the extremely powerful Salamander Guild. "There are huge penalties if I quit. What would you have me do?"
Whatever Nix had been expecting, he didn't think that Jun Li would put her head down on her own desk and cry. "It's quite easy. Get fired. Make the decisions you want until they've had enough and replace you. Corporations don't understand the loyalty involved with fighting and raiding alongside someone."
Semmi nodded, "it's the way to go. I'm leaving the guild immediately and will wait for you. We started doing this for fun Junie." Semmi had grown up with Jun Li, she knew that the Corporate run Salamander Guild was slowly changing her. "Nix is on the sixth floor, he told me advancing to Stage five is merely one race away."
"I should tell you the rest. The secret won't last long anyway, no matter how careful we are. A rebel faction of Aquarions called the Souza Accord, have approached me."
Nix explained the events of the past few days and how he was now harboring the entire Rebel Faction. Afterward, Jun Li was completely speechless. The Corporation behind Salamander wanted to make the Aquarions out to be monsters. Child abductions and regular raids on cities made that way too easy.
Jun Li looked pale when she heard the news. "You have Aquarion allies?"
Nix nodded. "Should I be restricted to a path where changing or rethinking past decisions isn't allowed?"
Semmi smiled at her friend. "Come on Junie, let's do it. No more logging off every night. We'll purchase a three-year stasis package and play the way we want!"
"You guys are dubs?" Nix didn't have to pretend that he was surprised. "Won't a lot of your players follow you if you leave?"
Jun Li frowned. "Not really, I've been a dreadful bitch when under stress."
Semmi laughed loudly, "that's the cold hard truth."
[Official Forum Announcement from the Salamander Guild]
The Salamander Guild has discovered the existence of a rebel faction of Aquarions that have been fighting for the right to live peacefully with humans. Members of the Souza Accord have separated from their Aquarion brethren in the interest of pursuing peace and cooperation. Although we have been enemies in the past, Salamander feels that moving forward toward a peaceful existence is in the best interest of Colonial.
Within an hour of the release of the statement, all the officers of Salamander had been removed and replaced. Salamander issued a statement retracting what Jun Li had posted and quickly distanced themselves as the entire Colonial forum overloaded with questions.
Salamander was forced to give Jun Li and Semmi a sizeable severance package. The only member of Salamander that followed them was Saintess, the guild's top cleric. The three women waited for Nix at the Jenza gate, they spotted him a few minutes later leading a small group.
Semmi waved to get his attention. "Looks like he picked up some additional help."
Nix smiled when he saw Jun Li, he was being followed closely by Nansu, Chael, Banza, Gypsy-Rose, and Ronnie. The three Daybreakers had put in for leave-of-absence, while the two members of Vesuvius had deguilded. "You are looking much better Junie."
Jun Li felt her face turn red, only Semmi called her that. The truth was the moment she was removed as guild leader, she had felt better than she had in months. "Thank you, I feel good."
They all joined hands and Nix activated Deep Blue before choosing the Sea World.
Mina sat with Pon and Shae on the beach while watching the sea creatures play in the ocean. Once a sea creature was tamed and turned loose, it would no longer act aggressively, unless directed to do so. There was something odd about watching the Vilas run playfully through the surf. The Ricoli artifact that had been picked up on the fifth floor contained dolphos. They bore a close resemblance to dolphins, the biggest difference was the mind-numbing sonic attacks they were capable of. They were incredibly rare, for a Matriarch to have twenty of them was very dangerous.
Mina turned as the sudden crowd that appeared near the cottage. "Nix is back."
Nix noticed Shae staring at Junie, but he had decided not to get involved. The Salamander stomped up toward the new arrivals and promptly grabbed the shocked woman before flying her off to the recently formed caves high above the ground.
Semmi didn't seem bothered by it. "They'll sort it out properly."
"So many new visitors Nix." Mina was wearing her black gear, she knew that her human allies were more comfortable around her because of it.
"Right, some new faces. This is Mina, from the Souza Accord. Mina the new faces are Banza, Gypsy-Rose, and Saintess.
The Daybreaker cleric smiled in greeting, "just call me Rose."
Saintess nodded and made a similar comment, "Tess is fine for me.
Ronnie sighed when she saw Pon and Wind. "I tried to talk Sharl into coming, just give her some time."
Pon put an arm around her shoulders, "she'll come around. She approved our leave quick enough."
Nix took a look around the beach. 'Any ideas on what we should do for housing?"
"We should buy a wharf." Nansu was scanning the nearby Aquarions for her friend Fajii. "There's a whole community of people in Hispana that live on houseboats. Some of the houseboats are pretty nice."
Nix liked the idea, housing was definitely an issue. "How do you transport a houseboat?"
"You buy them in a bottle initially, then launch them by placing the bottle in the water." Nansu had watched one being launched, it was amazing. "They're kinda spendy, the cheaps ones are around eight million credits, while the more expensive ones can run up to fifty million."
Nix wasn't worried about the cost, "I'll give everyone who has joined us five million toward the purchase of one."
"Me and Chael can go with you, I wanted to pick up some locally grown herbs. You can purchase wharves also, but they are quite expensive."
Chael made a face when he remembered the cost. "Around five hundred million credits for a good wharf. It comes in a huge crate that can travel through portals."
"Thanks, Nansu, I'll take you up on your offer."
"Everything good now Shae?"
After briefing everyone on the events of the fifth floor, Nix had guilded everyone except the Daybreakers. Shae had brought back Jun Li just as they were finishing up. The former Salamander guild leader looked like she had been crying, but apparently, things were better.
Shae smiled sweetly, smoothing her red dress while she walked beside him. Several people stared at her when they walked by. That was due mostly to her being very attractive. "Yes of course. I can be very magnanimous."
Nix chuckled, "nice word." Everyone had decided to come along to Hispana. Shae had claimed his arm and was enjoying a stroll through the Hispana Market.
The shop that sold houseboats had an impressive stock. They also sold ships and boats of every size. Before leaving the Sea-World, Nix had transferred five million credits to the ten members of his raid force. Some of them had already decided to double up in order to get something nicer.
Nix spent five hundred million credits on a wharf. It had twenty berths for boats, but more could be added later if needed. He also spent fifty-three million credits on a three-level, sixty-foot houseboat. He had only planned on spending around fifteen, but while he was reading the amenities, he decided to splurge. The Shop would deliver the wharf crate to the city portal, from there the responsibility of moving it was Nix's.
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The wharf was a simple 'T' design. It extended out two hundred feet from the shore and then extended left and right for a hundred feet. There were five berths on either side of both short legs. Many of the Aquarions had come ashore out of curiosity.
The wharf was equipped with docking ropes and lights. Out of courtesy, they had left the nearest berth empty for Nix, but the rest of them had become first come first serve. Pon and Nix were the only ones who hadn't doubled up. Semmi, Tess and Jun Li were the only ones who had tripled.
"Not going to put yours in yet Nix?" Zhava had been watching everyone place their houseboats. Semmi, Tess and Jun Li had the biggest.
"Guess I will." Nix walked down the wharf, it was anchored into the ground, so there wasn't any sway. Semmi was standing on her houseboat watching him.
"Finally going to show us what you got Nix?" Semmi called over Tess and Jun Li to watch. "With all the credits you spent on that wharf, I bet you went cheap."
Nix didn't say anything, he knelt in the middle of the craft berth and placed the bottle in the water. He ignored the gasps of surprise as the houseboat slowly took form. The deciding factor in getting this one had been the hot tub on the third deck. "Yeah, don't hate the Underwear King."