"Where's the quest start?" Mina was looking over his shoulder at the map.
"We'll enter an instance at these coordinates," Nix pointed to an area in the middle of the ocean. He glanced casually at the rest of the fleet, they were keeping pace but only because Delphi was running at three-quarter sails.
"Contact Captain! Off the port bow!" Louie's deep voice yelled out, "Land-lubbers."
Captain Delphi glanced at Nix, "Up to you Nix."
/Guildchat: Nix: Small detour, we'll catch up.
"Go get her Captain." Nix grabbed Mina and walked toward the bow where the Aquarion Assault team was waiting. They seemed more nervous than they should be, "relax everyone and work in teams.
Mina summoned her Vila and assigned one to each of the two-person teams. There were five Aquarion pairs, her and Nix were the odd ones out, they would fight solo where needed.
The ship they were chasing looked to be slightly larger than theirs, it turned toward the Phoenix and very quickly the distance began to shrink rapidly.
"Hard to Port!" Captain yelled out the command at three hundred meters, the other boat was still closing the distance.
Nix watched as the Phoenix turned sharply, by the time they were perpendicular to the closing ship, they were at two hundred meters. "Perfect timing."
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"Fire!" Delphi watched as both mains of the larger ship were shredded by the accuracy of the Phoenix's twenty pounders. "Hard to Starboard!"
The Phoenix turned again, this time running parallel to the enemy ship, they were at three hundred meters.
"Let's try our luck, Fire top cannons!" Captain Delphi had her eyeglass out as the top 28 cannons fired. Half of them hit the ship, three of them at the waterline.
Nix grinned at Mina, "They're dead in the water."
"Bring us around!" Delphi was about to give the command for fire order when the opposing ship ran up their white flag. She smiled at looked at Nix, "what do you want to do?"
Nix took out his eyeglass and examined the ship, she was taking on water. The ship was called the Alabaster and belonged to the Nottingham Guild. "Loot it and leave it." Being too heavy-handed would paint a bigger target on them.
The Phoenix pulled up broadside and a half dozen grappling hooks sailed over, a minute later the two ships were secured. The opposing crew opened their hold and stepped back. Nix was expecting angry faces, but the sailors actually looked relieved.
"Thanks for the mercy." A voice from beside him called out. She was leaning against the rail also, only a few feet away. "There are too many ships at the bottom of the sea out here."
Nix eyed the woman, she wore the tradition eyepatch of a pirate. He could see a bad scar that ran the length of her face, so he guessed the patch wasn't a gimmick. "You the captain?"
"Yes, Captain Faryn, well-fought today." She extended her hand over the rail and they shook cordially.
Nix noticed that the pinkie finger on her right hand was missing. "Will you be able to make it back to port?"
She pulled off her bandanna and wiped her forehead with it, she had deep red hair that was tied up in a complicated braid. "It'll be close, we've only materials for half the low hits."
Nix turned his head and looked at Delphi was had been monitoring her crew. Sometimes crewmen would be overaggressive and start fights with the losers, she didn't want this win to turn into a deck melee. "Can we spare some repair material?"
Captain Delphi considered it for a moment before nodding, "I'll send what we can spare over."
"Thank you, Captain." Taryn smiled at Nix and bowed low before turning. "Let's fight another day!"
Less than half an hour later the Phoenix had resumed its route to the quest coordinates. They were at full sail while Nix and the Captain examined the loot. They had come away with six chests.
Captain Delphi was all smiles, "it was a good win Nix. What's the split?"
"Call it a bonus and split it up between you and the crew." Nix patted her on the back and walked away. He wasn't an expert, but he liked what he saw. A new crew had easily taken down the Alabaster. They would only get better.
/Guildchat: Nix: Dalton you around?
/Guildchat: Dalton: I'm at the Hub if that's what you mean.
/Guildchat: Nix: I'd like to put an order in for 120 pairs of deck shoes.
/Guildchat: Semmi: You guys done already?
/Guildchat: Nix: Yes, we are enroute.
/Guildchat: Jun Li: How much damage did you take?
/Guildchat: Nix: None.
/Guildchat: Dalton: No problem.
The entrance to the instance was a huge transparent arch in the middle of the ocean. It was a few hundred feet across and perhaps five hundred feet high. More than enough for the ships to enter side by side.
Colonial System Quest Message: You have entered the Onion Instance.
Description: Take 3-5 ships and scout
the small island of Veshu.
Reward: 5000 Sea-Farer faction points.
As soon as they entered, a map popped up on everyone's hud. The island of Veshu was shaped like a boot, almost all of it appeared to be densely forested.
/Guidchat: Jun Li: Pon, you go east with Nix. I'll go west with Sharl and we'll meet on the Northside.
The Phoenix took the lead, with the Venture close behind. Delphi lowered sail so that the slower boat could keep up.
"It's a very nice beach." Nix had an eyeglass and was scanning the shore. It was nothing but pristine white sands as far as you could see.
Mina was close by, she had her eyes on the water. The Aquarion assault team was still looking nervous. "Relax, we will be able to handle this."
Nix summoned Ducky and Soup and put them both in scout mode. They kept pace with the Phoenix for a few moments before rushing ahead.
There were several minutes of quiet, as the seconds ticked by the tension seemed to grow. Suddenly there was an explosion in the water, about a hundred meters off the bow. Nix could tell instantly that it had been triggered by Soup's sonic attack.
/Guildchat: Jun Li: Mines in the water!!
Captain Delphi was already moving. "Hard to starboard, quarter sail. Free hands to the rail!"
The Phoenix slowed to a crawl, both Soup and Ducky returned to the ship. Nix slipped his armor off, and dived overboard.
"We'll scout it out, Captain." Nix latched on to Soup's shell and moved her forward. A splash next to him announced the arrival of MIna. She had two of her Vilas with her.
They submerged about twenty feet and slowly moved forward, within fifty meters they ran into the first mine. They were circular steel balls that were lined with spikes, someone had lined up hundreds of them. They were anchored to the sea-floor by a long tether that allowed them enough slack to drift a few feet in all directions.
Nix returned to the side of the ship to talk with Delphi. "Spiked mines that are tethered to the ocean floor, just below the surface. You know anything about these?"
The captain nodded, "cutting the tether sets them off, best if we find a route through them."
Nix glanced at Soup, "How about if we just start blowing them up?"
Delphi shook her head, "might set off a chain reaction. That's the last thing you want in an instance like this."
Mina motioned for the rest of her team to join them in the water. "Let's leave the ship and scout as a group. We can easily avoid the mines."
Nix nodded, "Anchor here, we'll be back."
/Guildchat: Jun LI: What's your status Nix? The Scimitar is hit hard and we have no place to go.
/Guildchat: Nix: We were able to discover the minefield before we entered it. Continuing to scout the island without the ships.
/Guildchat: Jun Li: Should we do the same?
/Guildchat: Nix: If you're bored, take a team and head to the island.
They had only swum for a few minutes before most of the Vila started acting up. Mina had them all stop. "The Vilas are scared Nix."
/Guildchat: Nix: Get in the water Pon.
/Guildchat: Pon: On my way.
The mines seemed to have cleared away, Nix swam to the surface and sat on Soup's shell while he waited for Pon.
The fire mage arrived a minute later, his eyes were grim. "Something feels off Nix."
A moment later the ocean exploded upward in a titanic mass of blackness. Pon barely had time to curse before a tentacle slapped him into a blood mist.
[Pon has been slain]
Nix summoned his white manta and leapt onto his back while ordering Soup to flee. "The f*ck is that?"
A triangular shaped black head covered in bumps lay rose up from the water. It had a massive beak that sounded like cell door slamming when he chomped down the Vilas that lay stunned on the surface.
/Guildchat: Wind: Pon was just killed by a f* king squid!
"Bring us about, full sails!" Captain Delphi spared a glance at Nix who had gained altitude quickly on his white manta.
"Return to the ship Min!"
The sky took on a green tint for a moment, then emerald fire rained down upon the Kraken.
A deafening screech of pain filled the air as the Kraken slammed its tentacles into the water.
[You have been stunned]
Nix felt both himself and his manta falling toward the ocean. He slapped onto the surface and lay there gasping for air.
Mina flashed toward Nix, "Everyone retreat back to the ship!" She was almost to him when she was plucked out of the water by one of the smaller tentacles.
Nix coughed once, holding his ribs.
A faint green glow surrounded Nix, he caught a glimpse of Mina's flailing legs. "Bastard!"
The snapping beak echoed in his ears as he raced toward her, without a doubt, he wasn't going to make it. A flash of black announced the arrival of his ally, he jumped on Soups back and a moment later was flung into the air. Eight strands flew from his hands and grabbed the tentacle holding Mina. Another screech of pain from the monster and Nix was grabbed, he twisted enough to ensure that Mina had been dropped.
The huge maw closed down on him, Nix tried to make himself as small as possible as he was tossed into its mouth. A bit of pain in his legs and then blackness.