329 Elementia part three
Gideon swore under his breath. "The city has been taken over by an Ice Nemesis named Bhalachi?"
Artemis nodded. "The earth spirits that serve as city guards are a hold-over from Hierophant, the Earth Dragon."
"F*ck." Gideon knew that if Nix were here, he'd know exactly what all of this meant. "How does Bhalachi control the Earth Spirits?"
Artemis shrugged her bare shoulders. "I was invited here by Hierophant many years ago. He gave me dominion over these woods. Although, as you've seen, the occasional straggler from the city does make their way here."
"I need to enter the city." Gideon kept his face expressionless; without a doubt, she held the key to getting him in.
Artemis's lips curved into a slight smile. "You would join your friend's battle? From what you've said, he had been brought here to deal with things."
Gideon nodded in agreement. "I would."
"The Ice Nemesis in charge of the city represents a danger to my woods. He often sends his minions here to test me."
Gideon did his best not to cringe when she cupped his face gently and kissed his forehead.
You have received the blessing of Artemis, Goddess of Wood.
You have learned Binding Barbs.
Binding Barbs [Wood] Multiple targets up to 5.
Description: Barbed vines wrap around your target,
holding them at bay.
Duration: 45 seconds. Cooldown: 2 minutes.
You have learned Thorn Armor.
Thorn Armor [Wood] Self-Only.
Description: Deadly thorns erupt
from your armor, causing your enemy
damage when they land a strike against
You have learned Wild Nectar.
Wild Nectar [Wood] Self-Only.
Your attack rating is increased by
200. Your health and mana regeneration
is increased by 20 percent.
Gideon waited until she stepped away before sighing in relief. "Thank you, Artemis."
Artemis handed him a small package wrapped in a giant leaf. "As your strength grows, you will continue to unlock new abilities."
You have received the Cloak of the Forest.
Cloak of the Forest: [Wood Element only.]
Description: A shimmering cloak that blends
in perfectly with your surroundings.
+200 to ATK rating.
+50 to All Stats.
Enhancements: First Strike.
Enhancements: Perfect Camouflage.
You have earned a New Title: Forest Assassin.
Description: All combat in
wooded areas double your
chances to score a critical hit.
Bonus: +100 to Dagger skill. Off-hand damage
penalties are eliminated.
Artemis lay her hand on his head. "Go now; none shall bar your way."
After meeting up with Shae and Rhy, Nix decided to skip the safe house and do some scouting. The trio walked cautiously down the streets of Elementia.
The Northwest section of the city was barricaded by a wall of Ice that sealed off any entrants, except for those willing to walk through a stout looking command station. It was a two-story building made from white stone. Two guards with ranged weapons stood on top, carefully watching anyone that would approach.
Directly across from the station was the Tempered Blade, one of Elementia's Inns. Although the same Inn was in the exact place in every Dragon City Nix had been in, he noted that this was substantially bigger at five stories.
They rented a room with a view of the station and studied the layout of the Northwest sector.
Rhy took a few minutes to form an air barrier that would stop anyone from listening in; when she finished, she took a seat on the edge of the rooms only bed. "Thank you for coming, Nix."
Shae didn't bother to hide the pleased look on her face. "I can't even say how happy I am that you are here."
Nix gave them a deadpan look. "Wait... Does this mean you guys aren't paying me?"
Shae nodded. "No payment."
"None," Rhy agreed.
Nix made a face at them and continued. "I'll have to get into the Infusing chamber. I'm fairly certain that all of the Earth Spirits are the product of animation."
Rhy glanced out the window; two of them were in view. "Why?"
"They're exactly the same, as a Taxidermist and an Animator, I recognize that they're made from the same template. It's really advanced, though, far greater than anything I could do."
Shae pursed her lips while she considered the theory. "How are they all Earth spirits? The resources needed for something like that seems a bit..."
"Incredibly vast? Yeah, I'm not sure yet how it's being done." Nix took a seat in the rooms only chair and leaned back against the desk. "Most of the Dragon Masters from the fallen cities had some sort of exit strategy in mind. Hierophant obviously brought Dyrekstad into this seed world; it seems like he was one of the smart dragons."
Shae watched him; she could see that he was planning something. "I don't like you going in there alone."
"Scouting mission only Shae, when I get the information I need, I'll return so we can plan an assault."
Rhy stood and walked toward him, her hand held out. "Take this. It will help you find Wilo if you get close."
Nix took the small jewel in his hand. It was small and round like a marble, inside was the tiny image of a city. It reminded him of the snowglobes his mother use to collect when he was younger. "What's this?"
Rhy smiled fondly. "Wilo makes them and gives them to her friends. She uses a tiny bit of her Air essence to make these. This is one of three."
Nix held it up to his eye. "She made this? Who has the other two?"
Shae nodded in reply. "Ronnie and King Lubo."
Nix did a double-take. "The King?"
A few minutes later, Nix engaged his stealth package and slipped out of the room. He approached the command station cautiously; there was no guessing what sort of anti-trespassing devices the guards might have. Hierophant had obviously upgraded quite a few of the options. Somehow he must have tied in the guards to the City Security Menu.
He slipped through without any concerns, he no longer needed to sneak since his Netherbreak Armor had been upgraded with the sound suppression camouflage. A large wall hid the spot where the entrance gate was located, the gate itself was removed and replaced with a black ice barrier.
"Shit." Nix already knew how black Ice worked but didn't really have a quiet option for cracking it open.
Forced to pause, Nix considered the issue. Sonics turned Ice into black Ice, so the person who cast the black ice barrier most likely had a second element.
Nix focused on Wrath and pushed Air into it.
[Spellsword Ability Unlocked: Sonic Blade]
Nix pressed the tip of the blade against the barrier, cringing at the loud noise it made as he pushed quickly through. One slash and he stepped in, the long ramp down to the Infusion chamber would have been dark had he not possessed thermal vision. The floors and walls of the corridor were much warmer than the Air inside of it; the effect made it look like a summer day to Nix's sight.
He took a few seconds to close the hole he made in the barrier; it was a regular ice patch; if someone came down, they'd notice immediately. He pushed Ice into Wrath until the black Ice blade emerged, then he lay it against the patched barrier and concentrated on feeding more Ice through the blade.
The end result after several tries ended up looking like a block of lumpy black Ice, from a casual glance it would pass inspection.
The temperature in the corridor dropped several degrees as Nix made his way down the ramp, he swore under his breath when he saw the first of the bodies.
They were laid out in two parallel rows. A long tendril, slightly thicker than Nix's arm, ran the length of the rows on both sides. Each body was connected to the tendril by the smallest of threads, some of the threads were bright, while others were dim. As he walked down the line, it was evident that the dark strands were connected to corpses.
He lengthened his stride and then broke into a run, at the end of the two rows were two enormous crystals, the two tendrils were obviously siphoning into them. Nix could feel the presence of Air in the nearer crystal.
A glance up the line showed bodies too large to belong to Wilo. Nix took out the 'snowglobe' and held it in the Air; it pulsed slightly when pressed against the large air crystal. "F*ck... I'm too late."
[Whisper: Gideon to Nix] Are you in Elementia Nix?
[Whisper: Nix to Gideon] Gideon? The hell are you doing here?
[Whisper: Gideon to Nix] I've come to help.
[Whisper: Nix to Gideon] I could use some help.
Nix's glance fell on the Interface and then to the raised platform where a long-dead dragon corpse was still present. Hierophant must have brought the city to his seed world while he still possessed a reasonable amount of strength. A plan started to form in his head.
[Whisper Nix to Gideon] Report to the Tempered Blade, Rhy and Shae are in room 308. I'll be there in a few minutes.
A quick glance at the Interface told him when he needed to know. The city was operating in preprogrammed mode; they probably didn't have the Dyrekstad Master Key.
[Whisper Nix to Shae] On my way back, Gideon is here and will be helping us.
[Whisper: Shae to Nix] Really? How did he get in?
[Whisper: Nix to Shae] No idea. This operation requires more people. I'm going to need Leva, Ronnie, and of course, the King.
Nix gathered his thoughts as he made his way back to the Inn. They'd have to move fast.