309 Oberton Farm
The peculiar feeling that he was being watched caused Nix to open his eyes. Vertical irises that should have seemed cold had only warmth; the alchemist caressed his face.
"This counts as waking me up."
Fajii's warm body pressed against him. "I didn't say or do anything."
Nix didn't reply other than to close his eyes again.
"It's after 1000 hours, by the way."
"Okay. I'm getting up."
A half-hour later, Nix was sitting on the couch, putting a few orders in at the Auction House in Free Trader City. He queued both the firewood and necessary fridge supplies and bought several stacks of pelts he had never heard of before. He only required 10 to make a basic puppet, but they were sold in stacks of 12. He also purchased a few different plants, extracts, and herbs that Fajii required.
"Want me to pay you for those Nix?"
Nix waggled his eyebrows at her. "Sure, but I don't take credits."
Fajii's laughter filled the house but was interrupted by a pounding on the front door.
"Hey, Commander!" Bali stood in his doorway wearing her Netherbreaker armor and had a long wooden bow slung over her shoulder.
Nix sighed heavily and let the Ain'Dhassi trouble maker in. The rangers were going to start on the Khant problem while Bali chose to escort the Inferno Guild Leader. "Why are you coming with me again? Shouldn't you be killing khants with everyone else?"
Bali shrugged her small shoulders and ducked by him. "Captain Locas wants me to ensure your safety Nix."
"You made that up." Nix brought up his hud, Scarlett downloaded all the land records and deeds in the Ionova area. He sent a copy of it to Bali and then headed to the bedroom to get dressed. "Take a look at that and tell me what you see."
/Inferno: Jun Li: We're back, Nix, plans for the day?
/Inferno: Nix: Choose the next four people most likely to take the Planar Trials test, we need to start gearing them up.
/Inferno: Jun Li: Chael, Darsi, Floyd, Banzi.
/Inferno: Nix: Let's turn our people loose and have them search for Guild quests, teams of three only.
[Whisper: Hyai to Nix] I'm going with Junie today, Nix, want to test out my Fire Djinn.
Nix frowned at the message, Hyai had been in the high 60s, but after the expansion patch, all of Inferno was raised to level 125 as compensation for being nerfed. She had used the Djinn, but his abilities were restricted because he was a 5th tier companion.
[Whisper Nix to Hyai] Link the Djinn, please.
[Whisper: Hyai to Nix] Sure Hun.
Tavo: Gemini Djinn [Spirit Companion to Hyai]
[Whisper Nix to Hyai] Did it always say Unknown?
[Whisper: Hyai to Nix] No, before it said Restricted.
[Whisper Nix to Hyai] Guess you'll find out. Be careful.
[Whisper Hyai to Nix] I will. See you tonight.
The two riders rode in silence through burnt fields, whatever crop had been here the day before had been destroyed by the blight and then burned by Fey.
Bali was riding Flash; her pale face was frowning at the charred remains. "How are the farms here going to recover?"
"Nansu said that the ashes from the burnt crops would help the soil, it is early enough in the season to replant, but Inferno will have to purchase seeds."
The Oberton Farm consisted of several log structures, a barn, and a large coral. Nightmare stomped her feet when she noticed the strange mare tied in front of the main house. Nix patted her shoulder softly. "Don't eat the other horses."
A door opened when they rode up, the woman he had talked to in town waved in greeting. "Steward Nix! I hear that three Dire Wolves and a bunch of rangers are clearing out the Khants."
Nix couldn't help but smile at her. Hopi was a younger version of Hyai if she had been a farmer. Her warm smile and honest way of speaking left Nix with a good impression. "Well... You did give me a list."
Hopi smiled widened. "I did..." The smile faded slightly when a man walked through the door behind her.
"Can you introduce us, Hopi?" The man was young and well dressed; a single sword was strapped to his belt.
"Steward Nix, this is Gotti Oberton, his family owns this farm."
/Inferno: Bali: Hang on... What? Is that what you were talking about Nix?
/Inferno: Nix: Yep.
Nix ignored the man. "I thought your family owned the farm Hopi?"
The man laughed loudly, an odd sound that seemed more like a horse's laugh than a man's. "The Oberton family owns all the farms in the area, Nix."
"Bali, open up the land records for the farms outside of Ionova."
Bali smiled. "Sure, Commander." She brought up the records and found the deed for the land they were visiting. "This land is owned by Helis family."
"Ten years ago, after the last Thornwood curse, five of the farming families from Ionova moved back to Free Trader City. My father purchased these lands from them."
Nix nodded and took out a piece of parchment from his inventory and started writing. "Who is the head of your family, Hopi?"
"My father, Regar Hanza, he went to town this morning to see about purchasing seeds."
Nix chewed on the end of his quill. "Regar? R E G A R?"
Gotti cleared his throat loudly. "What's this about, Nix?"
"I'm writing out a new deed for this farm."
"See here, Steward! You're interfering in Oberton business; a wise man would walk away before trouble starts."
The soft twang of a bowstring and Gotti was down on one knee, an arrow pierced through his foot, pinning it to the wooden porch. A scream of pain followed the shocked look on his face. "WHAT ARE YOU TH..." He trailed off when he noticed Bali had a second arrow aimed at his face.
Her soft voice carried across the distance. "You're addressing a man who has defeated dragons, slain an Emperor, and stood in front Khione herself without ever backing up. Choose your next words carefully."
Nix handed the deed to Hopi. "Let your father know that I will get him the seeds he needs, free of charge."
Hopi's mouth opened and closed a few times before she managed to speak. "Thank you, Steward Nix."
Nix waved her off. "Just Nix is fine."
Bali lowered her bow and opened up the area map. Her quick fingers highlighted an area a few miles away. "I bet this nice place right here would belong to the Oberton family."
Nix glanced at the map before turning back toward Gotti. "Get on your horse and tell your family that I'm on my way. The Clan Leader of Titania issued land deeds to five families. I expect to see the original documents when I arrive."
Gotti groaned in agony when he managed to dislodge the arrow from the wooden porch, he limped over to his horse, trailing blood the entire way.
Hopi watched the man ride away before she spoke. "They have several fighters, Nix."
"Good." Nix turned Nightmare away from the house and pushed her into a trot.
/Inferno: Nix: Nebs and Gideon show up at the house yet?
/Inferno: Fajii: Yes.
/Inferno: Nix: Sending you a waypoint. Bring them and meet us there.
/Inferno: Fajii: Ok.
[Whisper: Fajii to Nix] Everything okay?
[Whisper Nix to Fajii] A bit of cleaning up to do.