324 Khione“s Trap
"I am Enu Bak? How can I be someone I've never heard of?" Mina gently lowered Nix to the ground, even with his mana stone, his flames had completely sucked his mana dry.
"Time is short, but I will explain." The sprite gestured toward the glowing presence. "That is the remanents of a great water beast, only a small vestige of its power remains tethered to this area."
Mina could sense the water beast, it would have been massive in size during its life, perhaps like a Kraken. "Continue."
"Nix's Ice is being overrun by something that is way more powerful in that particular element, his fire has been shouldering the battle, the other elements he possesses aren't strong enough at this time."
Mina's pale eyes narrowed, "you want to give him the element of water?"
The sprite's small head nodded. "It does amount to that."
"Then you are crazy. Nix is a fire creature, an actual salamander hybrid. He isn't versed in fighting with the element of water." Mina pulled him closer, she could feel his temperature steadily dropping.
"You are right... that's why you will do the fighting. Enu Bak means bonded one or shared spirit."
Mina caressed his face with one hand. "Water and ice are allies, they aren't combatants."
"That... is the only reason you have any chance at all. Don't fight the ice, try to redirect it." The sprite moved away a few meters. "Make your choice."
Mina stood up, leaving Nix laying motionless on the long marsh grass. She walked toward the glowing vestige of elemental power. She spread her arms wide and welcomed the energy.
It plunged into her suddenly, her alien eyes widened in agony as her own element poured into her. She struggled for several minutes to absorb it until her throat was raw from screaming.
"That is enough, step away and place your hands on him." The sprite waited and grew agitated when she didn't respond. "You are taking in too much, stop now!"
Mina's face was an image of misery, she hovered a few feet off the ground, willing more of the power to enter. She couldn't stop herself, no matter the cost, she would defend him. "MORE!"
"You idiot! Step away now." The sprite began slowly backing away, if that power exploded, they would all die.
Mina screamed in agony, blue fluid leaked from her ears and mouth, with the last of her strength she tore herself away and staggered toward Nix.
"Place your hands on him, find his ice source first..." The sprite stopped speaking when the Aquarion removed Nix's clothes. "What are you doing?"
Mina dropped her armor on the ground and straddled his waist, gripping his shoulders she bent and placed her lips against his.
Nix hovered in the air on an elemental world he didn't recognize, he had been battling for several minutes and was starting to tire. He was surrounded by four separate spheres, the largest and most powerful of these was formed from his flames. A half dozen different kinds of fire weaved together and gave him the strength to face the attacks.
He held two thick strands of emerald flame in his hands, using them like whips he attacked the ice creatures that continued to come at him.
A drake-sized Ice raptor dived at him, its sharpened claws descended at a speed he could barely match. He swung the strand in his right arm at the creature, managing to wrap around its wing, with all of his strength he pulled it toward him.
The creature disappeared in a cloud of steam, and Nix breathed a sigh of relief. A quick glance at the four spheres told him what he already knew, his fire Orb was weakening.
Nix turned at the familiar voice. "Mina?"
The beautiful Aquarion's smile was radiant when she gazed upon him. "Found you at last."
"Right... Where am I? And how do we leave?"
Mina stood beside him, her eyes falling on the four orbs in front of him; Fire, Ice, Air, and Lightning. "You are in an elemental world, struggling against the trap of a goddess."
Nix smiled suddenly. "When you say it like that, I sound like a moron."
"Acceptance is called for here, not resistance." Mina made a gesture and her own orb moved in front of her, it was much larger than any of Nix's.
Nix whistled softly. "Isn't that too big Mina?"
"Yes, it is too much for me." She grabbed his hand and pulled him closer. "I will handle the attacks now, you only need to listen to my words."
Nix nodded. "You have my trust, Min."
"The orbs before you are our elemental seeds. If you keep battling an Ice goddess with just your flames..."
"I will eventually lose and burn out." Nix finished the sentence for her.
Mina focused on her oversized orb, directly splintering off a piece she pushed it toward Nix. "This is a water seed Nix, it can only take root if you accept it."
Nix suddenly remembered when Shae gave him her fire seed. "Shouldn't we be kissing or something?"
Mina shook her head. "That is being taken care of, you need only accept."
Nix focused on the orb of water, the smallest bit of splinter broke off and took hold next to his other orbs, while the rest of it faded away.
Mina frowned at him. "Really? So little?"
Nix shrugged helplessly. "It's water Min... Even that much was difficult."
"Incoming, follow my lead!" Mina targeted the large snake-shaped Ice creature that moved in their direction, with the barest of efforts a stream of water sprang from her hand and intercepted the ice creature, instead of fighting, it willingly entwined itself in her element and followed it to its source where it was absorbed.
Nix scowled at the ease at which she handled it. "Sure... if you do it that way."
Mina nodded. "I can't handle them all like that Nix, she is an Ice Goddess, after all, we'll need to work together."
"Tell me what to do."
"Push your air seed to the front first. The Ice element is a hybrid of Water and Air, accept the air."
Nix watched the space above them, another Ice elemental formed, this one looked like a winged horse. "Damn... I want one of those."
"Focus Nix. Feel the Air in the creature, and accept it."
Nix could sense the overpowering strength of the ice creature as it galloped toward them. He could barely feel the smallest bit of frigid air mixed within it.
In the end, Mina was forced to accept all of it once again. The Aquarion didn't let it bother her, they tried a second time and then a third. Finally, on the fourth attempt, Nix was able to separate not just part of the air element, but all of it. It fed directly into his air orb while the water flowed peacefully into Mina's orb.
"I can do more Min." Nix was starting to understand the nuances of the fight, separate and accept... but he could do more.
"Take the lead now Nix, pull out what you can and I will handle the rest."
A water creature formed in the distance, it vaguely resembled the shape of a shark. Nix used his ice and water element to lead a substantial part of the ice creature toward him. It willingly separated itself, more than half going toward Mina while the rest accepted his peaceful invitation to join him. The Ice element streamed toward his orbs, it was a bit sloppy, but he managed to send it to three of his seeds; half of it was separated to become water and air, while the rest was absorbed directly into his ice seed.
As the minutes dragged on, his fire seed started to regain its previous strength. It glowed with brilliant hunger, and he started to understand. He had been drawn into a trap, one that was meant to completely snuff out his flames. This was only a fragment of Khione's elemental strength, but without Mina's help, it would have been disastrous.
The endless torrent of Ice creatures finally slowed, Nix's air, ice and water seeds had become larger and glowed brightly. He studied the water orb, knowing that Mina had made it possible. "Thank you."
Mina squeezed his hand, the water orb beside her had grown substantially and was now accompanied by a much smaller Ice seed. "I will fight for you, and my daughter until the end of my strength."
Nix studied her expression. "Am I missing something?"
Mina nodded. "We have won. The trap meant to disable you has made you stronger."
Nix felt the elemental world he was imprisoned in fade away, slowly he woke to find himself laying on the damp marsh grass. Only he and Mina were around. "Mina?"
Mina moved slowly against him, letting her lips brush his. Nix should have been surprised by the action but he wasn't. "You are wondering why we are undressed?"
Nix nodded. "It did cross my mind."
Mina's pale face hovered over his, blushing slightly. "We exchanged pointers."
Nix felt her soft skin pressed against him, she seemed warm for a water creature. "Are we done then?"
Mina shook her head slightly and started moving against him. "You have my support."