29 Burning Bridges
Official Forum Statement: Inferno
Many of you have heard the news that we at Inferno uncovered. There is an artifact that can change the gender of unborn Aquarion babies. Our allies in the Souza Accord have been working with us as we investigate this matter fully. Recently we have discovered the location of this artifact, it is the mission of Inferno and the Souza Accord to permanently destroy this device.
Jun Li smiled at her friend and posted the statement. As promised they had used their severance package from Salamander to purchase a three-year stasis package. A large company called Neuron was one of the most popular and reliable stasis companies. They would handle investments, send you regular updates on the world events and even transfer your game credits into real-world assets if you wanted.
Semmi glanced at the time, in thirty minutes a driver from Neuron would arrive and bring them to the stasis facility. The entire process would take less than an hour. Both of them had already given Neuron their log-on and gaming information so that their pods could access their Colonial avatars.
Nix put the sixth strand on her, she smiled encouragingly.
"It's actually very pleasant Nix." Shae had no issues moving while being held, she was too strong. "See if you can hold it!" She focused and waves of heat pushed away from her, each hotter and stronger than the last, the flame strands began to increase in thickness.
Nix's eyes had turned into twin suns, the salamander bodysuit glowed as his aura lit up. He gritted his teeth, blood running down his chin while he focused.
Pon was watching them off to one side, he had already guessed that the strands were related to Shae. If Nix ever decided to walk the path of the fire, he would most likely stand at the top of fire mages. The old mage smiled when a seventh strand began to form, instead of shooting toward the Salamander it hovered for a moment and then split into two separate strands, both of them wrapping around Shae's arm.
Shae nodded in approval. "You may be part Salamander Nix. Well done!" She broke the strands by absorbing them, Nix collapsed to his knees gasping for air.
Nix looked up at her while trying to catch his breath. "Not long ago, that would have come in extremely handy."
She slipped her red dress over the salamander suit that she wore. "I want to talk to you about something Nix."
He nodded and followed her as she walked toward her caves. She slipped a hand through his arm just like she always did.
"I'm going to enter metamorphosis for a while Nix. It's how we elementals improve ourself."
Nix glanced up at the caves, she had taken him there earlier. Shae had made quite a lair above them all. "Is this safe?"
Shae shook her head, "I will be quite vulnerable during this time. Normally only mated elementals would even dare try it. One would stand guard while the other goes through the process."
"No one comes to Sea-World without me letting them in. It will be inconvenient, but I will confiscate Mina's access key until you are finished."
Shae smiled and nodded. "Thank you, Nix, last time I attempted it I was attacked by a Water Lord." She moved close and kissed him. "Should only be a few days, but it can last up to a few weeks."
"Don't worry about anything, you'll be safe here."
Shae didn't say anything else, she floated upward and entered her caves, leaving Nix staring skyward.
He found Mina in the Cottage, unlike her kin she enjoyed living and sleeping on land. "I'm going to need your Deep Blue bracelet for a period of time. If you need to run an errand, I will be more than happy to take you."
Mina nodded and handed him the bracelet. She didn't ask why he wanted it, nor did he volunteer any more information.
Nix walked into the living room and took a seat on the couch. The Aquarion leader was the only one currently staying in the cottage. Everyone else was enjoying life on the wharf. "I want to start looking for Alpha again. He couldn't have disappeared."
Since the last time they saw him in Broyan, the only lead they had was the outlaw city of Kryn. A man wearing a wolf mask had been seen there. The coastal city was avoided by everyone except hardened criminals and people looking for hardened criminals. Assassin's for hire, thievery, whatever you needed doing. Kyrn was the place you went to hire bad people, even law enforcement stayed away.
"Could I see your hooded mask Min?" Nix opened his inventory and chose a sturdy black cloth, after exploring different options, he had discovered that if he placed an item in one of the enhancement slots, he could duplicate it. If he did that while using his own name in the first slot, he could copy it to his own specifications.
"Sure," Mina handed him the item he asked for. "Thank you for making me all the clothes, you do amazing work."
Since Mina spent a lot of time in human cities and out of the water, Nix had designed several outfits that helped mask her identity. "We're allies."
The Aquarion nodded in agreement, "that's your answer whenever I thank you for something."
Nix duplicated the hood and then handed it back to her. "Because it's true."
Mina pursed her lips slightly, "Nix... I saw Fajii wearing a very nice outfit that you made."
"Hmm? Do you mean the swimsuit?"
Mina nodded, "yes, that's what she called it. Would it be too much trouble..." She didn't finish her sentence.
"You want one? What color?'
Mina considered it for a moment, "the same as your eyes, if possible I'd like the two-piece one."
"Sure Min." He didn't have any yellow cloth, but by adding red and green cloth to the enhancement blocks, he could adjust the fabric color to something very close to yellow.
Swimsuit: Yellow [Aquarion]
Description: A Sleek bikini
swimsuit that is both comfortable
and stylish. Custom made for Filamina.
Crafted by Nix.
Kryn didn't have a city portal, the quickest way for Nix to get there was by using the portal to Cella and then taking his Manta the rest of the way. He pushed his Aviante to top speed, staying close to the ground. Lots of people had Mantas nowadays, but everyone knew who owned the white one.
He stowed the mount just after the city came into view and switched to a black one. The black mantas were slowest, but they were also the most aggressive. If he were to be attacked while riding, the black manta would most likely defend him. No one rode them because they were uncommonly stubborn, they always died during conventional taming.
The city of Kryn was a sprawling assortment of one-story buildings. Given its proximity to the forest, nearly every building was made of wood. A steady ocean breeze brought a wide assortment of unpleasant odors coming from the settlement. The city itself was separated from the rest of Broyan by a river that gave it the same characteristics of an island and was only accessible by three long wooden bridges.
While under the pretense of watering his manta, Nix released his stable and quickly placed them all in the water beneath the middle bridge.
He pulled his mask over his face and rode the black manta toward the first bridge. It was a steady structure with huge wooden beams sunk deep into the river's muddy bottom. The beams were as thick as a man's waist and coated with pitch to protect against the elements. Nix chuckled when he saw them, super-dry timbers coated with pitch (Pine Tar), a fire-starters wet-dream.
He moved under the bridge to block the view of anyone watching and shot out eight strands onto the two closest beams. He only needed to keep them in place for a minute before beautiful orange flames licked their way up to the main structure.
He rode past the middle bridge and then repeated the process on the far one. He was riding fast, high-above Mainstreet, before the flames were visible. While scouting Kryn he had targeted a group of wood buildings close together. He landed on the roof, at the place where they came together and once again sent his fire strands onto dry wood. By this time, cries of alarm had arisen from the city. Two of the bridges leading into town were on fire.
Nix rode his manta high into the air and moved back toward the middle bridge. There was no law enforcement in Kryn, by the same token, there weren't any firefighters either. The fire spread quickly in all directions. Since half the people in town were pirates, the docks were immediately congested with people trying to board their ships and leave. The fire raged toward them, the smart criminals abandoned their plans and swam for it.
The yellow-eyed man watched as the flames grew higher. There was a reason that he had left one bridge untouched. Had he set it on fire, then everyone would have immediately swum across the river. Since it wasn't, people grabbed what they could carry and ran for the bridge.
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No one on the bridge was moving quickly, it was only about thirty feet wide and not meant for the fast exit of five thousand people carrying their valuables.
He spotted him way faster than expected, walking down the middle of the bridge and wearing his wolf mask. Nix smiled and dived his Manta toward the bridge, "found you, shithead."