239 A Few Days Res
Nix stared up at the Dragon Fir he had planted almost a day earlier. The first night it had shot up, but the growth accelerated even more during the daylight hours. "Could be the future guest house, or maybe just a party tree. Must be about eighty feet in height and I can barely get my arms around the trunk." He noted that the leaves were at the very top and the bark was nearly rough enough to climb up.
A soft muzzle pushed against the back of his neck, he turned to find red eyes staring at him. "Bet you wish you'd eaten that tree when it was small."
The mare nosed him again, then accepted an apple from his hand. Her hooves which would have been called cloven before, now couldn't be called anything but claws. The scales on her legs extended all the way to her abdomen, her color had turned black as coal.
Nix walked towards the ranch house, the mare fell in step beside him. "You sure you still eat apples?"
When he decided he wanted to raise horses in Haven, Nix had used up his free time reading up on the subject. Typically horses have Incisors that make up the six front teeth, there's an inch gap that separates them from four canines and then another two-inch gap until their molars start. The teeth are mostly flat but definitely capable of inflicting a wound. The demon horse broke all those rules. Her teeth looked more suited for tearing flesh rather than grazing.
He stopped when they arrived at the stables, only the pregnant mares were being penned. "Hey... What's wrong with Flash? Not your type?"
He held up another apple.
[Aura Ignition: Emerald Flames]
Any horse on the ranch would have taken off the moment Nix lit up. The demon mare looked curious and put her nose directly in the flames. He whistled softly. "I had a feeling."
[Direct Contact: Shae] The Salamander's holo popped up in front of him, she putting plates onto the dining room table. "Time to eat Nix."
"I know. Could you come outside for a moment?" Nix closed communication and continued walking toward the house. He was close enough to hear the door open when she came outside.
"Were you riding?" Shae put out her hand for the demon mare to sniff.
"This is going to sound weird. Could you try igniting her aura?"
"You trying to cook her?" Shae put a hand on the mare's head and closed her eyes for a few seconds. She reopened them a moment later and lowered her voice. "You gave dragon blood to a horse?"
Nix didn't comment, Shae had a higher perception than anyone he'd ever heard of.
She clucked her tongue at him and then extended her pointer finger. Instantly the night lit up with orange flames, the demon mare stood unconcerned over the flames that bathed her. Shae stared at the horse for a few seconds, there was a longing in her eyes. "Can I have her?"
"Um... No." Nix laughed at the face she made. "Shut it off please, I don't want her burning our grasslands."
Shae nodded and stared longingly at the horse. "Nightmare."
"Oh... I like that name, but you still can't have her."
[Loki Shipyard: 1100 hours]
The warm afternoon sun shone down on the ship, the gentle waves of the bay licked curiously at her wood hull. Inferno's first attempt at shipbuilding definitely wasn't pretty. Lena, the Guild's carpenter had followed the designs the best she could but the schematic was meant for a Master Shipwright, not a Master Carpenter.
Captain Delphi gave Nix a skeptical look before returning his gaze to the Moon Goddess. "She's not the Phoenix."
Lena snorted from the other side of Nix. "As you say, Captain."
"I'm pleased with the result," Nix declared while shaking Lena's hand. He had opened a Breach from Glory to bring the crew of the Phoenix to Loki, their mission was to sail the Moon Goddess to Izzin.
"Why can't you just open a breach up and sail the Phoenix through it." Delphi already missed the sleek Queen of the Colonial Oceans.
"Already tried," Nix admitted. "Take her to Izzin to show Shipwright Vy, that's your mission. Lena will accompany you."
Lena frowned at the Inferno leader. "I thought you were coming too."
"It's only six hours by ship. I'll meet you guys there."
Captain Delphi nodded reluctantly. "We'll get her prepped and sail tomorrow at Dawn."
Nix left the two of them at the docks to hash out the details for the trip. He summoned Nightmare and mounted up. Although the forests of Loki were quite extensive there was also a nice network of game trails throughout the dense woods. He gave the horse her head and let her go where she wanted. Nightmare tore down the trails, making the ground blur while Nix was forced to hold tight.
Bent over the saddle to limit drag, the rider's loud howl was lost on the wind, Nightmare was fast. She skidded to a sudden stop a while later, Nix nearly fell out of the saddle when she put on the brakes. "What's wrong?"
Nightmare stomped her feet like something was bothering her.
Nix's eyes turned deep orange as the thermal signatures of the woods became visible to him.
"Come out." Nix could see two people standing together in the undergrowth a few meters off the trail.
"She's fast Nix, faster than any horse I've ever seen." The smiling face of Delyn Xai approached him, his apprentice and Clan Leader Raine Xai followed behind.
"Nightmare is fast." Nix slid down off the horse and shook hands with Delyn. "Getting to know the woods a bit before the course starts?"
Delyn nodded. "It's been a while since I was last here, it's the perfect place for Wrath training."
Nix didn't comment. Inferno had sold their Wrath slots to Resolute since they couldn't find anyone interested in attending the course. The four-month course would give them the Wrath Class as well as a basic introduction to some of the skills and abilities they possessed. The graduates would be novice Wraths.
Nightmare stomped her feet again, something was bothering her. When Nix approached she put her head in his chest and whinnied softly. "What's bothering you?"
Raine gave him a slight smile. "It's the blood, an epic battle is taking place close by."
"The f*ck are you talking about?" Nix let his vision wander the woods, a few hundred meters to the North, the landscape was dyed red with the fading heat of spilled blood and bodies.
He broke into a run, heading directly to the site. A minute later he arrived at a small clearing, where one of Loki's many streams forked off into two separate directions. Nix frowned at the carcasses. "There must be hundreds of them. What are they?"
The bodies of small creatures closely resembling minks were littered about on the banks of the river. Nix picked one up, it had been killed by a puncture wound on the back of its neck. It was barely longer than his hand with a long thin body covered in gold fur.
"Thousands actually," Delyn confirmed. The brown-haired Wrath knelt beside one of the small bodies and turned it over. "This one is a Thrane, slightly different from the one you have which would be called a Razir."
"Razir? Why would they be fighting?" Nix had to deactivate Dragon Eyes to see the color difference. The Thrane was a reddish-brown while the Razir was golden.
"Why does anyone fight Nix?" Delyn shrugged his shoulders. "Cycle of life here on Loki, these creatures have been doing this since I trained here decades ago. It will continue forever, or until one side wipes out the other."
"Maybe one side just won," Nix noted that there was only a few Thrane bodies on the battlefield.
"Hard to say." Delyn watched the Inferno leader start to gather the Razir corpses, within a few minutes he had managed to stack most of them in a huge pile.
[Whisper Raine to Delyn] What is he doing master? The meat you get off these things isn't worth the time it takes to skin them unless you're starving.
[Whisper Delyn to Raine] Hard to say. Let's continue scouting.
"We're going to continue our preparation for class." Delyn faded into the woods a few moments later, his apprentice trailing behind.
"Open Crafting Interface."
Nix selected Taxidermy from the list of his crafts.
[Please choose the base creature you will be using.]
Nix place the small Razir corpse in the queue.
[Do you wish to skin 2,048 Razers?]
2048 Razir pelts have been added to your inventory.
Your Taxidermy skill has improved to 59.
[Please select the tools and material you will be using.]
Nix looked at the selection choices, they were mostly tailoring tools.
[Razir Pelt] [Skinning Knife: Platinum dagger] [Needle: Ceramic] [Filler: Camel Hair]
[Queue 2,048 Razir dolls?]
"Yes." While the queue started processing, Nix made some notes. Taxidermy allowed you to make a doll replica of any creature, providing you have enough corpses and materials. They weren't sentient dolls and required you to inhabit them. They had a shelf life that slowly ticked away with use.
It took less than half an hour for the queue to finish. During that time his Taxidermy skill had only raised to 66.
[Make Advanced Razir Mannequins?]
"Yes." From his experience with the rats, he knew that making an Advanced Razir would burn up four dolls.
[Queue 512 Advanced Razir Mannequins?]
"Yes." Nix read the queue data after it became advanced, the system referred to the creatures as mannequins instead of dolls.
He leaned back on the riverbank and waited while the process finished.
Your Taxidermy skill has improved to 79.
512 Advanced Razi Mannequins have been added to your inventory.
[Make Superior Razi Mannequins? Requires x4 Advanced Razi Mannequins.]
[Queue 128 Superior Razir Mannequins?]
Over the next hour, Nix continued working and advancing the Taxidermy skill. It took eight superior mannequins to make one excellent mannequin and then sixteen of those to advance to Pristine. In the end, Nix was left with a Taxidermy skill of 101 and one Pristine Razi Mannequin which he had named ghost.
Ghost [Pristine Razir]
Skills: Dominate, Stealth, Self Destruct.
Nix examined the razir doll carefully. He couldn't find a discernible difference between Ghost and the corpses he had used. "I need to find some rat corpses and make a Pristine Rat King also."
/Inferno: Semmi: Nix! Where are you? The party is starting!
/Inferno: Nix: On my way. Where at?
/Inferno: Semmi: Under that tree, you planted outside of the Gemini Temple.
/Inferno: Nix: Okay.
[Direct Contact: Leva] An image of the Fallen Chancellor popped up in front of Nix. "Report."
"I assumed my duties, the acolytes here didn't even know a breach was opened when you took my body. They thought I was resurrected someplace else."
Nix nodded, they had been chanting and praying to the altar when he'd taken her. "Who's the driving force behind the plans to take Solomon?"
"Zylanex is obsessed with taking the Sky Kingdom, He is one of sixteen Nether Overlords."
Nix nodded. "At least I have name to work with. Compile a report on Zylanex and then send it to me.
"As you wish Nix."