Nix followed the archer into the dark cave, he had to stoop at the entrance, but it widened into a large cavern almost immediately. His companion brought out three glowing lamps and sat them in a ten-meter triangle.
"Holy crap." As soon as the lights were in place, the turtles were visible. There were at least a hundred of them, and they were double the size of the ones that had previously hunted. "You sure we can kill these?"
Ronnie nodded, "these are elites, so the xp will be much higher."
Nix moved away from her and backed up to the cavern wall. "Okay, let's give it a try."
Ronnie put an arrow in the nearest one, it bounced off harmlessly. "Shit." The turtle charged her, it moved much faster than the non-elite ones.
Nix extended his hand and shot a flame strand at it. His feet dug into the sand of the cavern floor as the creature tried to drag him away. He used his other hand to shoot another strand, the strain on his body immediately decreased, and the turtle stopped moving.
"Nice job!" Ronnie started shooting again. The double flame strands weakening the turtle to the point where her arrows were doing damage. After a few minutes, it died.
Nix started skinning the turtle while Ronnie looted the shell. On a whim, Nix decided to can some of the turtle meat.
"Time to stop Nix." Ronnie called out that she had enough. More than half the turtles in the cavern were dead.
Nix looked at his stats, he had made it to level 26. "It's 1800? Where'd the day go?"
Ronnie smiled at her newfound friend, a bit of guilt seeping in. He was doing most of the killing. "We were busy, it's time to go."
"What about the eggs?" Nix was stepping around the nests, there were at least twenty eggs sitting in the unattended nests.
"Leave em. They are too far along to eat."
Nix shook his head and started putting them in his inventory. "I want em."
The climb back up the rocks seemed easier than the descent as the duo headed toward town at a trot. They stopped running just outside the city gates.
"I have to raid with my guild tomorrow. Want to join me?"
Nix glanced at his companion. She didn't talk much, he liked that. "I'm going to do a bit of exploring tomorrow."
She nodded and walked beside him as they moved toward the market square. They had just arrived when a loud klaxon alarm started sounding off.
Nix covered his ears and looked at his friend. "What is that?" It reminded him of the old Air Raid alarms.
"Get under cover!" Ronnie grabbed his hand and pulled him under a nearby Day Cart. They lay on the cobblestones, while the market emptied very quickly.
Three creatures descended from the clouds and circled the Market. One of them hovered in place while the other two headed toward a different part of the city. A blue-skinned figure riding on a giant Manta scanned the market with pale blue eyes.
Nix stared at the woman, "what is she?" She had what looked like fins attached at her calves and elbows, seashell-shaped ears were visible beneath her long white hair.
Ronnie held a finger to her lips, "Aquarian," she whispered.
A movement in the market square caught the woman's alien eyes. A small girl with curly brown hair darted from under a pile of crates and ran toward Main street. Instantly the Aquarian gave chase.
Nix felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up, a sign that he was angry. He rolled from under the cart and ran towards them. "HEY! You ugly Water Bitch! Leave her alone!" He shouted at her to get her attention, but she swooped down and grabbed Shana by the arm before circling around to face him.
She hovered ten feet off the ground. A frantic Shana was squirming in her arms. Alien eyes watched him, there was contempt hidden in those pale pools.
"Normally I talk these things out." Nix walked toward them, his face expressionless, yellow eyes glowing with anger. "Who am I kidding? I never talk these things out." He extended both hands, two flame strands attached to the Manta causing it to veer and nearly crash into the ground. The woman lost her grip on Shana, Nix pulled back against the creature who screeched at him in an ear-piercing tone.
"Human!" The Aquarian looked enraged when it noticed that its prey had disappeared. She drew a sword from nowhere and cut through one of the strands. Suddenly Nix was being dragged across the square.
Ronnie was watching the events from under the cart. "It's a water sword Nix!"
Nix nodded and extended his arm again, a second flame strand wrapped around the Aquarian's forearm, the sword dissolved into water and she collapsed onto her mount with a scream.
The beast circled for a few times, dragging him through every cart in the market. Finally, it started to gain altitude, causing his feet to leave the ground.
"Oh shit." Nix was just about to drop the flame strands when a pair of arms wrapped around his waist and pulled him back. The Manta was still managing to rise when another pair of arms joined the resistance and then another.
Shots started to ring out from nearby, followed by the sound of hooves running on the cobblestone street. The two Aquarians returned just as the Manta the market square died. Nix could no longer hold the strands, he watched helplessly as they rescued their companion and left.
No one stopped him when he skinned the beast and canned some of the meat. Ronnie was smiling at him when he returned.
He knew that she had been the first one to grab him, "thanks, Ronnie."
Her dark face watched him, "you faced an Aquarian by yourself. They are immune to just about everything."
"Except flame." A man's deep voice spoke from behind them. He was sitting on a huge warhorse, he wore heavy black armor and the ax he had slung over one shoulder was on fire. He had a shaved head and a square jaw, definitely not someone to trifle with.
"That was crazy Ronnie!" A dark man picked himself up from the ground. He was one of the ones that had grabbed onto them.
"Very crazy little sister." A woman was dusting herself off, she smiled at Nix. "You must be the CC that Ronnie has been telling us about."
Nix glanced at Ronnie and then back at the woman. "I guess."
"I'm Sharl, the Guild Leader of the Daybreakers." She woman held out her hand. She had a friendly face and bore a strong resemblance to Ronnie.
He shook the offered hand, "thank you for the anchor, Sharl. I'm Nix."
"Thank you for your assistance here." The huge man on the warhorse looked down at them. He nodded politely and then spun his mount and galloped away without saying anything else.
"What are you even doing here Sharl?" Ronnie smiled at her guild leader, "you should still be in Hispana."
"You've been hunting all day so you don't know. Someone is selling under armor gear that has stats."
Nix bit his lip to keep for laughing. "I made those."
Ronnie looked at him sideways. "You're a tailor? That's why you skin everything!"
"Crap, I need to check on Shana." Nix broke into a trot, leaving the Daybreakers by themselves. After a moment they followed him.
The boutique seemed quite when Nix threw open the door. Both women were holding the crying Shana in their arms. He gave her a stern look. "Next time stay hidden when danger is around!"
Shana nodded, her lip sticking out like she might start crying again. "You shot flame from your hands and made her put me down!"
Nix nodded at the description. "Do those things visit often? What do they want?"
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"No one is even sure." Sharl and her guildmates had entered the store. "You make the under armor?"
"Yes," he glanced at Maye. "Any interest today?"
"Two million a set." Maye had been fending off guild leaders all day. They all wanted them. "That's the best price we can get."
"I'll match that." Sharl was listening to everything, she had very nearly been too late.
"At least it isn't underwear." Nix placed a large box on the counter. "This is ten sets, talk to Maye for a price. She owns this boutique."
Ronnie stepped in front of her sister. "Wait... you make underwear? Is it good?"
Nix shrugged, "come in the back. I'll make you a few sets."
In the end, Maye sold 10 sets of Turtle Under Armor to Daybreakers for two million credits each. By the time Nix and Ronnie returned from the back room, the transaction had been completed.
"Good luck on your raid tomorrow." They had invited him to join them, but Nix was itching to do some exploring. He gave Maye the next day's product and said his goodbyes.
He was still smiling a few minutes later when he stepped into Cyphix. He had made Maye accept their 30 percent, but with the sales of underwear and the under armor, he had made almost 20 million credits.
Nix was surprised a few minutes later when he stepped into the Kindled Spirit. Sila and Hyai were sitting together at one of the tables. They both smiled at him when he entered.
Hyai smiled at him. "Hey Nix."
Sila was trying not to laugh, "at least pretend to be awkward Nix."
Nix shook his head. "Hey."
Hyai got up from her chair and looked over at him. "Pheasant or Rabbit stew tonight?"
"Pheasant I guess." Nix watched her walk away.
Sila was staring at him, her eyes full of humor. "Imagine my surprise to find out one of my old lovers and one of my new ones, are actually good friends."
"Good friends? Did Hyai say that?"
Hyai came back with a pint and slid it in front of him. She winked at him. "I try to be discreet."