207 Solomon City
Nix's emerald wings flashed under the light of the Haven moon. He had been surprised that their color wasn't silver; a smile was plastered onto his face as he moved easily through the night sky.
"Very pretty Nix." A voice spoke from above him, white wings tilted slightly when she banked to come beside him.
"Like em?" Nix grinned at Shadai, "where are the boys?"
Shadai offered him a sweet smile, she was usually in the company of Cal and Tor. "Haven't seen them since the party."
"Wanna race?" Nix knew he couldn't beat an Arch Wind, so he took off as soon as he said it. He heard the pleasant sound of her laughter as she started chasing him down.
[House Foundation Complete 5/5]
Nix slowed and headed to the ground. "Sorry I have to go. Next time!"
A few minutes later Nix appeared on the 90th floor. Chiba and Rhy were still there, they were sipping out of a silver flask.
"It's good, right? Made it myself." Chiba's wrinkled face creased into a creepy grin, her eyes seemed redder than usual, even for the chronically drunk swordmaster.
They both looked up when Nix approached, Rhy handed him the flask. "I very nearly died on several occasions, these trials aren't made for utility classes like me."
Nix tilted the flask and immediately regretted it, it tasted a bit like diesel fuel. "That's some horrible shit, Chiba."
"Don't be such a little girl." The old woman accepted the flask back and finished it off. "Thank you Nix, I didn't expect to ever do the trials again."
Nix looked at the foundations stone embedded into the floor. There were crossed silver swords and intricately feathered black wings engraved on the stones. "Now we have to choose 12 pillars."
Chiba pursed her lips. "How many of them are ready?"
"Alpha team for sure, Jun Li, Sharl, Mina, Milat, and based on her ridiculous determination, probably Ronnie." Nix was still satisfied, they were still getting stronger. "I've decided to bring all of Inferno past the Escalade bridge, it will make travel for them more convenient and help our growth."
Rhylia glanced around the platform, the transparent images of 12 pillars were plainly visible. "Where is everyone?"
Nix shrugged, "impromptu party celebrating... nothing I guess. Just about everyone is sleeping on my floor, several of your Arch Winds are there."
[Do you wish to access the Pillar Menu?]
"Yes." Nix studied the menu.
[House of Inferno: Greater House Quest]
Each candidate may attempt the test three times. You are allowed to elect 12 Individuals.
[Greater House Pillar 0/12]
"Fight hard and play hard." Chiba's ugly smile showed that she agreed with the concept. "Why don't the three of us head to the 40th floor for a bit of fun?"
The Air Nemesis tilted her head slightly. "What's on the 40th floor?"
Chiba scratched her chin as if considering the question. "It's paradise Rhy! Just about any type of fun, you can imagine."
Nix shook his head. "I'm out. I'm meeting Breach Commander Mtui tomorrow."
Rhy shrugged, her black wings moved slightly. "I'll go. Now I'm curious."
"The floor Steward Kai is one of my best friends." Chiba winked at Nix. "Last chance lover boy."
Nix remembered the first time he visited the 40th floor. "Pass... Do you know Kai? Is that a Man or a Woman?"
Chiba licked her lips and pulled Rhy toward the elevator. "A little bit of both!"
"Didn't expect to see you here Nix." Mina's voice pulled him from a deep sleep, a sudden shift of the bed told him that she sat down.
Nix didn't bother to open his eyes. "Shoo Min, I'm sleepy."
He felt a soft hand caress his face, Aquarion's had some odd habits. Their concepts of intimacy didn't match up with humans. "I find myself with nothing to do."
Nix finally opened one eye. Mina's white hair hung over her shoulders, her pale eyes watching him. "Did I make those pajamas?"
Mina nodded. "Of course Nix, I only wear clothes that you make."
"There is an Aquarion House in Solomon City, the Archons we faced were more than likely from there." Nix watched her for a reaction.
"My knowledge of my own culture seems lacking now." Mina could remember the shock she felt at seeing winged Aquarions, she had also felt deep envy. "When was the last time you slept here?"
Nix shrugged and sat up slowly. "The Beach Cottage bed has always been the best around. We are going to take the Guild to the Escalade Bridge today. You should go too."
"I will... You make it sound like you won't be there." She followed him outside. For some reason, Nix liked to jump in the water when he first got up.
Soup followed him into the surf while Ducky yawned and took a seat on the beach. The blue-haired Water Witch smiled at Mina. "Good Morning Mina."
"Oh, good morning." Like most of Inferno, Mina was slightly taken aback by Ducky's increasing sentience. "You look tired."
Ducky nodded, "We fought hard during the trial. You should have seen Soup, went right through the ice and took out the boss." She clapped when she said it, her pretty face looking happy.
Mina watched Nix swim in lazy strokes for a few minutes before he finally crawled onto Soup's shell to sun himself. "Ducky... Has Nix mentioned the Black Gate to you?"
Ducky shook her head. "Only recently have I evolved enough to care about such things. I have heard him talk of it, there's a reason he was able to break the charm while the rest of you couldn't."
Mina's face turned sad thinking about her small family of three, Nix, Lisa and herself. "How could I break out of such complete happiness?"
"You ignored the obvious clues right? The chaos mage's charm was imperfect, but only Nix was able to find the errors and act. In the end, he was forced to kill three people that he cares about."
Mina stared at the man sunning himself. "S-She would draw on Soup's shell with chalk, no matter how much I scolded her."
Ducky patted Mina's head the way Nix would often do to her. It resulted in Mina giving her a smile. "The power of good illusions is that they blend reality with what the target wants, in your case, several things. Peace, home and family."
Mina stared at the blue-haired girl, just a few months ago she would frolic for hours in the waves while trying to seduce different members of Inferno. "Do you want those things too?"
"I already have them, Mina."
"Right, you have sisters."
Ducky shook her head, "my family is Nix, Soup, Fey, and Morti."
Nix walked out of the surf a few minutes later and opened his hud.
/Inferno: Nix: Last night we finished the Foundation Quest. Rhy, Chiba and I were able to complete our Planar trials.
/Inferno: Shae: Good Job!
/Inferno: Jun Li: What's next?
/Inferno: Nix: We'll have to choose 12 pillars, that would be the next 12 strongest in the guild. We'll build some strength up first, more of us need to get into the higher-tiered classes.
/Alpha Team: Semmi: I'm ready Nix!
/Inferno: Nix: I want the guild taken through the Escalade bridge today. Can you handle that Junie?
/Inferno: Jun Li: Cake... we'll get them through and head over to Loki for a visit.
/Alpha Team: Nix: Alpha Team members can make the Planar trial attempt, I'll assign you as pillars.
/Alpha Team: Wind: I'm in.
/Alpha Team: Fajii: Me too.
/Alpha Team: Pon: Same.
A few hours later, Nix, Vooni, Shae, Chiba, and Rhy gated into Solomon City. They took the Market Gate rather than the usual gate next to the training yard.
Nix inhaled deeply and let it out. "Feels great walking around without all that pressure."
Shae was wearing a red sundress, looking nothing like the Archon who had easily handled Bael Strom. She was pointing out the different shops, every once in a while she would skip ahead.
"Chiba!" A familiar voice called out to the old woman, Chiba was nursing a massive hangover, her pale skin looked even worse in the afternoon sun.
"Beta..." Apparently, the swordmaster didn't feel up to her normal banter but she still accepted a hug from her pink-eyed friend.
Shortly after that, Nix somehow found himself alone in front of the Greater House of Dragons. "Damn... everyone bailed before the meeting with Mtui."
The House itself was made from dark brick and reminded Nix of the scary mansions from vampire movies. A slim man in dark leather armor answered the door when he slammed the heavy brass knocker down.
The man led Nix inside, where dark wood paneling and old fashioned chandeliers completed the image. "Welcome to the House of Dragons, Breach Commander Nix, I shall bring you to the Master."
The huge black door leading to the office opened when they approached it. Nix caught a glimpse of the room he had seen when he retrieved Juri Mtui. He stepped inside and immediately felt the rush of hot air, apparently dragons like their rooms warm.
Three dragonspawn were seated in a circle when he peered in, all three of them stood up. "Thank you, Leopold, I will take it from here." Mtui gestured toward an empty chair and shut the door behind Nix.
"Nice to meet everyone, I'm Nix." He recognized them from their holo message during the Cai'Song battle, all of them were Breach Commanders.
Mtui took the seat next to Nix. "We aren't formal here Nix, call me Mtui and these men are Renz and Polai."
Nix smiled politely, he was the only one wearing armor, the other three Breach Commanders were wearing dark clothes. "I'm raising a house. We already have the Foundation in Place and the old Oasis Land deed." Nix figured he'd start out by laying down his plans.
Mtui nodded in satisfaction, "right to the point, I like that. We will support you in this Nix, anything you need just ask."
Renz made a gesture with his hand and a multi-layered holo-map covered a good portion of the room. "There's a reason we are so pleased to have another Breach Commander, these are the upper and lower planes.
At first glance, Renz's hair looked black, but in the light of the room, it was more of a very dark reddish-brown. He was the slimmest of the three, Nix guessed he was probably a Mage.
Nix studied the holo, he could pick out Colonial and Oasis landmarks as the 2nd and 3rd layer. "What's here at the lowest level?"
"Netherworld, every sort of dark beast and fiend you can imagine," Renz spoke quietly as he zoomed in on the lowest level. "I am the current Breach Commander of this plane."
Mtui closed the lower plane and opened up Colonial and Oasis. "We usually rotate responsibilities, your arrival is a great opportunity for us."
Nix looked at the three remaining layers. If the 2nd and 3rd were Colonial and Oasis; then the 4th should be the Sky Kingdom. "Why?"
Polai finally spoke, up close he looked like some sort of super-athlete, even his muscles had muscles. "The lowest level of Nether is a two-person job. The Sky Kingdom can be handled by one person, sadly we've had to neglect the 2nd and 3rd levels."
Nix nodded as he began to understand. "This is why there were Archons in the Cai'Song Battle, and how the House of Oasis was able to rebuild in Inuit."
Renz glanced at the other two Breach Commanders. "We understand that you are just building your strength if you can monitor Oasis and Colonial, that would help us out a lot."
"What do I need to do?" Nix had no real idea of how to monitor an entire plane.
Mtui handed him a bracelet with four empty settings. "This is a Planar Bracelet, I'm currently monitoring the Sky Kingdom, Oasis and Colonial." he held up his arm to show his own bracelet with three stones mounted. He removed two of them and handed them to Nix.
Nix held the stones in his hands, one looked like a sapphire and the other an emerald. They fit nicely into two specific slots. "How was I able to get Alerts before this?"
"I forwarded them to you." Mtui looked slightly embarrassed. "my apologies Nix."
Nix waved it off. "No worries."
[Breach Commander Nix has assumed Monitoring duties of Colonial and Oasis.]
All three of the dragonspawn breathed a sigh of relief. Mtui pulled out a bottle of dark red liquid and poured each of them a drink. Renz brought out a carefully packed basket that had looked to be different types of cheese. Polai handed everyone long pipes accompanied by small bags of blended tobacco. They looked at him expectantly.
Nix scratched his chin, no one had told him to bring anything. He pulled out his last bag of ghost peppers that he picked from Shae's garden. He offered each of them a generous portion.
An hour later Nix's head was buzzing like it was full of bees. The cheese definitely was doctored with something very potent and more than likely the tobacco wasn't strictly tobacco. He laughed and made jokes with the dragonspawn, after tasting the ghost peppers they hounded him for more until he dumped the entire bag on the desk.
/Inferno: Semmi: We just beat the crap out of the Escalade Boss, Inferno members can now come and go as they please.
/Inferno: Nix: Awesomer.
/Inferno: Shae: Awesomer? You okay Nix?
/Inferno: Nix: Um... a bit drunk, kinda high and my mouth is on fire.
/Inferno: Vooni: Breach Commander parties.... they have all the good stuff.