327 Elementia part one
The sudden sensation of falling caused Nix's stomach to flip-flop as Air'Voilla flashed by, and he felt an irresistible force threaten to pull him out of the wind tunnel. Rhy must have been expecting the anomaly because she wrapped him up with her arms and legs right before it happened.
An instant later, they reached the end of their journey and were flung out like a projectile. Rhy released her passenger and spread her wings, gliding safely to a stop while Nix bounced and skidded across the stone-paved alley before slamming into the side of a building.
Nix climbed to his feet, a sour look on his face as several people approached him at once. A green cloak was thrown over his shoulders, and he was pulled into the middle of the group.
"Walk with us and keep your head down." Rhy's familiar voice whispered in his ear as she pulled the cloak's hood over his eyes to shield his face.
You have arrived in the City of Elementia.
[Guild Chat has been disabled]
[Instant Travel abilities and Artifacts have been disabled]
"Of course they are..." Nix mumbled under his breath while following the cloaked group. They were in a city, a real one, with buildings that rose up three and four stories into the air. Marble walkways bordered wide roads that were perfectly cobbled. Unlit gas lanterns on nearby street corners gave evidence that this Colonial city was advanced.
The street was the busiest he had ever seen, the sidewalks were crowded with pedestrians, and all manner of mounted beasts were being ridden. As Nix peeked from beneath his hood, he realized that no one would make eye contact. The inhabitants of the city seemed scared and walked with their heads down, staring at the space directly in front of them.
They turned onto a major road; Nix only knew this because the foot traffic went from very busy to nearly impossible. The group automatically assumed a single-file formation, Rhy's pale hand reached back to grip his.
The shops and buildings were all either wood that had been painted white or white stone. The group seemed to turn several times, enough so that Nix knew they had already gone in at least two separate circles. Finally, after nearly an hour, they entered a large building that Nix assumed was a warehouse.
Gideon blocked the low thrust and then faded into nothing. A moment later, he reappeared behind his assailant.
Gideon has landed a fatal attack on Seamus.
Seamus has been slain.
Gideon quickly searched the corpse, pocketed everything it carried before moving onto the other body. They had attacked him on sight, without any kind of warning or reason.
The sound of screeching overhead sent the assassin fleeing into the underbrush. Suddenly angry with himself for not asking Nix to upgrade his armor with the camo-overlay, Gideon bent low to the ground and listened. The sounds of pursuit caused the assassin to stealth and retreat further into the woods.
A short while later, the Salamander leader broke into a run, keeping low and trying not to disturb the natural foliage. A few seconds after he chased Nix into the Wind tunnel, a force had grabbed him and yanked him out of Nix's path. Even though he intended to stay close, he lost sight of Nix and Rhylia; they could be on the other side of the world for all he knew.
The forest he landed in was densely wooded, and travel off-trail was made difficult by the peculiarity of the trees. There were lots of low branches and vines that seemed to exist only to slow down his passage.
Gideon had both his blades out, slashing at the vines that clung to his armor, he was forced to slow a walk to deal with it. "F*ck." The assassin had been so busy when he first arrived that the thing that was eating at his thoughts finally came to the forefront. "Nix doesn't even know I'm here."
The vines he cut parted momentarily and then encircled one of his wrists. Dozens of tendrils wrapped up his arms and legs before pulling him into the air; Gideon knew a moment of panic before taking a deep breath to calm himself.
"Smart. Struggling in this instance is futile." A voice spoke from within the deepest part of the undergrowth. The vines and branches obstructing Gideon's view fell away. "Why are you in my woods?"
Gideon studied the woman for a moment and felt encouraged, being a female in real life ought to give him an advantage. "I was traveling in a wind tunnel; something pulled me out before I reached my destination."
[Author Reminder: Gideon is a male avatar but is played by a real-life female named Mai]
The woman moved out of the shadow, gracefully making her way through the tangle of vines. Her pale features bore the lightest tint of jade, while her long, dark green hair covered an otherwise bare torso. "Feasting your eyes?"
A laugh escaped the assassin's mouth before he could stop it. "You are really barking up the wrong tree here."
The woman moved closer, emerald eyes that brimmed with intelligence studied him. "I am Artemis. Am I not beautiful?"
"Huh?" Gideon tensed when she moved close. She smelled sweet like flowers and cedar. "Maybe... if you are into stuff like that. That's not really my thing."
Artemis placed a hand on the assassin's chest, her warm hand caressing. "What isn't your thing?"
"Other women... Not that I'm judging or anything. I'm a woman myself."
"Really?" Artemis slid her hand down until it rested on Gideon's hip. "You feel manly." Her hand moved a few inches and gently squeezed him.
Gideon froze in place for an instant, the only thing going through the assassin's head was 'how would Nix handle this?' The assassin clenched his teeth in rage and kicked at the green-skinned woman. "You lousy bitch! What kind of person goes around groping others?"
Artemis's face showed surprise and then amusement. "You are right; of course, this is not how I should treat an honored guest."
The vines binding Gideon's arms and legs fell away, allowing him to drop to the ground. Immediately he reclaimed the daggers he had dropped before turning back to face his assaulter. "You try that crap again, and I will slap the green right out of you."
Artemis's laugh echoed in the dense woods. "I have no excuse for my actions; let us pretend that it never happened."
Gideon nodded, although his eyes remained hostile while he rubbed the red indentations on his wrists. "Fine."
Artemis closed her eyes for a moment, her chin tilted upward slightly while her nose sniffed the air. An instant later, she morphed into a large gray wolf. "Climb on my back and then hang on tight."
A minute later, wolf and rider blurred through the woods, the branches, and vines that should have hampered their progress fell away at their approach before resuming their original position once they passed safely through.
The gray wolf ran for several minutes, not stopping until they arrived in a small grove that bordered a peaceful looking pond. "You may dismount now."
Gideon slid to the ground, his dark eyes trying to take in everything. "You are a druid?"
Artemis shook her head. "I am not. Although they would naturally share many of my abilities, it is like comparing a candle to the sun."
Gideon covered his frown with a cough. He hated dealing with arrogant women more than anything. "Do you know where my friend is?"
Artemis nodded and took a seat on a moss-covered stone. "Opening a wind tunnel from within Elementia would have required a half dozen Air Nemesis. Why would they do that?"
Gideon shrugged slightly. "They came for my friend; they must think he can help them."
"Is your friend an Air Nemesis?"
"Fire Nemesis, but uncommonly resourceful." Gideon cursed himself for giving that away. "Tell me what's going on here?"
Artemis smiled and patted the stone next to her. "Will you sit with me, Gideon?"
Gideon frowned. "Don't think I'm bluffing about what I said earlier."
She patted the stone next to her until the assassin took a seat. "This is a seed world, one of the largest that I've ever heard of. No one knows who owned it originally, a very powerful elemental most likely."
"Why do you say that?"
"You have to be an elemental to enter the city; this is why you were removed from the wind tunnel."
Gideon cursed softly. "I can't help my friend then?"
Artemis shrugged her bare shoulders. "It's been a long time since I was able to converse with someone. There might be a way."