Nix waded into the knee-deep surf to greet Soup. He had grown again but wouldn't reach his full size for quite some time. "We're gonna hit the next stage of Mermaid City in a few days, I'm expecting big things from you."
"Nix?" Hyai called to him from the shore, she hadn't wanted to come since it was lunchtime at The Kindled Spirit, but Nix had insisted.
Nix waved at the Innkeeper. He had seen her in a wide variety of outfits but never in pants. "You look good Hyai."
"Why am I wearing pants?" Hyai tried to frown at him, but her lips wouldn't comply.
"You'll be happy you did." He rubbed Soup's head one last time and then came ashore. "You have some Spirit companions now?"
Hyai nodded, her freckled face blushing slightly. She had found herself surrounded by a crowd of Aquarions, all of them wanted to be her Spirit companion. She was unsure if her popularity was caused by the Kindled Spirit or by Nix. "Four of them."
"Saji was one right?" Nix had seen the Aquarion healer make a bee-line for Hyai at the start. He suspected that Mina put her up to it, but was clueless as to why.
/Inferno: Jun Li: How'd you get to the 61st floor Nix?
Nix scratched his head while he considered it, he was actually on the 41st floor.
/Inferno: Tess: This cleric from Tea Leaf? You and Morti carried her to the 61st floor! I'm your favorite cleric!!
/Inferno: Gypsy: Pretty sure it's me.
/Inferno: Nix: No comment. Junie, I want to bring all the raid gear. Prep for Tent City.
He used his hud to check out the Embassy rankings. Sitting on the top were five names. Sulane, Caza, Mortimer, Sajani, and Nix. "That's curious, I'll have to look into it."
[Whisper: Mina to Nix] This meeting is required?
[Whisper: Nix to Mina] Yes. Mandatory.
[Whisper: Mina to Nix] May I ask why?
[Whisper: Nix to Mina] Of course. Our recent discussion has shown me how far apart we still are. This could be considered team building.
Inferno began to gather on the beach in the Sea-World, slowly over the course of a few minutes they all arrived.
/Inferno: Nix: Raid leader Junie, please form them up into groups, according to their Spirit Companions, please.
It took several minutes to figure out, but Jun finally finished.
/Inferno: Nix: Save this configuration for future reference. We'll be doing this regularly.
/Inferno: Jun Li: Doing what?
/Inferno: Semmi: Why so secretive?
Nix walked down the beach, a distance away from the raid and examined the bracelet that Rhy had given him.
[Do you wish to activate the Arch-Wind bracelet?]
The roaring of wind made him cover his ears, it sounded like an approaching freight train was rushing down upon them. A small horizontal whirlwind appeared, over the course of a few seconds, it widened and lengthened until it formed a wind tunnel several meters long.
/Inferno: Nix: Prey waits.
Nix leaped into the wind tunnel and was instantly sucked out of sight.
Nix howled in the face of the hurricane. The wind was so strong he couldn't open his eyes. It felt like one of those rides he use to go on as a kid. There were several dips, turns, and unexpected climbs until suddenly he was thrown high into a clear blue sky. He knew a moment of panic before his wings opened up and caught the wind gracefully. "Wings? F*ck yeah... Wings!"
Ronnie was the second one out, she was screaming and laughing before finally leveling out in a glide.
/Inferno: Ronnie: OH BOY!! Nix, you are the MAN!!
Nix flapped away from the entrance, it felt awkward at first but as he moved further away it became easier. It was blue sky in all directions as far as he could see. Floating trees seemed to be scattered liberally throughout the area.
Perhaps the natives of Air'Voilla had seen visitors from Colonial in the past, but not 60+ at once.
/Inferno: Nix: Spread out and explore, stay with your companions. There are no hidden dangers here.
Nix glanced over his shoulder, his wings were light brown, the same size and shape as everyone else. He spent a few minutes trying to understand how to climb and turn. By accident, he discovered banking and diving. He climbed for a few minutes, making sure he was higher than everyone. He could spot Hyai in the distance, a smile started to form on his face. She was with a group of four Aquarion females. "Time for some fun."
He banked hard and then went into a steep dive.
Hyai and the Aquarions froze in place for a moment as Emerald flames roared by them, then they scattered like roaches. The sound of Nix laughing told them who was responsible.
/Inferno: Hyai: Nix!
Not stopping there, he chased Min, Zhava, and Milat around for a few minutes. Mina scolded him several times but Nix ignored the threats and continued.
Ronnie was laughing louder than anyone. She buzzed her sister a few times, trying to get Sharl to play, but her older sibling seemed uninterested. It was then that she noticed the rather large flock of birds following Nix.
/Inferno: Ronnie: Nix, you have birds following you.
/Inferno: Pon: Arch-Winds! Is that why we are here?
/Inferno: Nix: That's why I'm here. The rest of you are here to have fun.
Having blown off steam, Nix was content to circle lazily. His guildmates had gone in several different directions. Everyone seemed to be embracing the chance to fly. A movement beside him announced the arrival of 3 Arch-Winds. Two of them were male and the third was a female. The two males both carried bows, while the female carried a small staff. They circled around him as he flew, their speed and flight abilities were years ahead of his.
"I'm Nix, a Fire Mage."
"I'm Torrent, an archer."
"Cali, also an archer."
"Ea'Shadai, a Priestess of Air."
"Hmm, the three of you are quite impressive. In the interest of making things easy, I will call you Tor, Cal, and Shadai."
"Of course." Shadai offered him a smile and flew alongside him. "It is our destiny to fly for you."
"Will the three of you remain here and wait to be summoned?" Rhy had told him that they would probably choose that but also there was a chance they'd want to stay at the Air Palace.
Cal seemed to be the leader of the three. "We will stay with you."
Nix nodded, that wasn't what Rhy had told him, but they could always change their minds later. "My home is in the Sea-World, but there are plenty of wide-open spaces to fly."
A few hours went by before Nix decided to head back.
/Inferno: Nix: Time to go.
He activated the Wind Tunnel and dived in. Immediately he felt the loss of his wings. His three Arch-Winds flew close beside him. Nix landed gracefully on the beach and kept moving in order to stay clear of the others coming through.
"Pretty." Shadai stood in the surf for a moment, looking at the area around them.
Nix took this moment to get a closer look at them. They were all about the same height, around five feet tall. They had white wings and feathered heads. Their faces were human-like, although quite thin and they had normal-looking arms and legs. Nix pointed to his large houseboat. "I live on that, make yourselves at home."
Cal glanced at the other two and then nodded before flying away. Nix watched them until all of Inferno had recovered on the beach.
/Inferno: Jun Li: Okay... that was amazing. Why did I grab all of our Raid gear?
/Inferno: Nix: We aren't done, everyone report directly to the Embassy.
Nix looked at the time, it was nearly 1600 hours.
/Inferno: Nix: Get a move on, those who haven't received a Guild Card, do so now. Everyone else stays outside until we are ready.
It took nearly two hours to get everyone through, Kyla and Hyai were the last two.
The elevator Attendant was watching his group carefully. He faked a smile when Nix came forward.
Nix handed him his Guild Card. "The doors close at 1800 right? We want to move directly to the 5th-floor camping grounds."
The Attendant breathed a sigh of relief. "That's easy, I'll lock on the 5th floor and all of you can walk in at the same time. Sector six had been pretty empty. There is a vendor there who sells camping supplies and vegetables."
At exactly 1800 the Embassy elevator opened up into a large open meadow, it was surrounded by a fairly dense looking forest. The sun was just starting to set when Inferno entered.
/Inferno: Nix: Ronnie and Nansu, take your companions and gather wood.
/Inferno: Jun Li: I'll get the tents set up.
/Inferno: Nix: Hyai, come see me.
A short while later Hyai walked up with her new Aquarion friends. "What do you need hun?"
"We're going to have a dozen campfires, choose two sites for cookfires."
"Do we have things for cooking? Pots? Utensils?"
Nix nodded, "Junie is setting up the Mess tent, you can get what you need there." He began to stack cans of Kraken and Leviathan on the grass.
/Inferno: Nix: Semmi, take Pon and head to the Inn on the 30th floor.
/Inferno: Semmi: Booze run?
/Inferno: Pon: Yep.
/Inferno: Nix: Tess ask Hyai what she needs, and see if the Vendor has it.
/Inferno: Tess: I'm on it.
Slowly, over the course of two hours, fires were started, tents were put up and food was prepared. The voices of dozens of different conversations going on at once made a comfortable but very loud and steady din.
A surprised Morti appeared in front of him a moment later.
"Nix!" He pushed his head into Nix's chest. "Where've you been?"
Nix scratched the bear's ears roughly. "No where fun. Still hanging out with Pinky?"
Morti nodded and looked around. "A party?"
Nix shook his head. "Just camping. Now that you're here, it's a party." He patted the ground next to him, smiling when the big bear waddled over and sat down.
There were just over a dozen people around Nix's fire. Hyai, Chael, Nansu and all their companions.
/inferno: Semmi: Well done, Nix.
/Inferno: Pon: I'm inclined to agree.
/Inferno: Jun Li: Same here.
He felt Mina staring at him over the fire. She smiled slightly without speaking.