341 Dragon Eggs
"You've raised Elynmoor?" The words hung in the air for a moment, Deidra knew the city had been activated and wasn't surprised that it had been Inferno. "How are you keeping it in the air?"
"Not with Dragon marrow, if that's what you're asking." Nix felt her shock at his words; it was the best-kept secret among the dragon cities. They were kept in the air at the expense of their dragon masters.
"Then how?" Diedra didn't bother to deny it, if Nix had control of four dragon cities, then he almost certainly knew everything.
"Spectrum. I'll reunite the cities, and no dragons will have to sacrifice themselves ever again." Nix stared at the dragon, even in human form she gave off a predatory sense of danger.
"Bring her." Deidra opened a breach and stepped through, Nix followed with Del an instant later.
Any creature other than a fire beast would have been instantly uncomfortable. The temperature rose by several degrees, and there was a heaviness to the air. They were in a cavern, Nix felt the eyes of several beasts watching him, but he dare not put Del down.
"They are my nursery guardians, do not worry." Deidra motioned for him to set Del down. "Here's the issue. Her soul is permanently attached to the dagger and is slowly being drained by it. If you somehow managed to remove the dagger, you'd have an empty sack of flesh and an enchanted blade."
"I've used enchanted items to animate things in the past."
"Deidra nodded in agreement. "I'm well aware of your prowess. The dagger is an artifact that will eventually taint her soul, and she will fall into chaos."
"Then what are my options?"
"You need a container that will nullify the chaotic nature of the blade."
The cavern room was very large and well lit. The smell of blood and fire hung in the air. Nix's eyes stopped wandering when he noticed four large eggs directly in front of him. "What do I have to do?"
You are in the presence of a soul container. Do you wish to place Del Tali inside?
Nix ignored the hud message from his animator interface. He understood that one wrong step here would result in his permanent disappearance.
Deidra placed a hand on the nearest of three eggs. "This is the next generation of dragonspawn."
The eggs were about three feet in height; Nix studied them for a moment before his eyes strayed to a fourth egg that had been set apart. It didn't glow with life like the other three. "And this one?"
The dragon woman walked slowly toward it, her hand caressing the outside of its shell. Nix suddenly felt intense sadness radiating from her. "Life doesn't always take."
"You will let me place Del in that egg?" Nix could see that it still faintly glowed. "What's left inside?"
"Everything needed for life to thrive. Unfortunately, life never formed, and so it remains like this, unusable by anyone." Deidra gave him a slight smile. "Except maybe an Animator."
"Time is running out. What do I do?" Nix placed a hand on Del's forehead; it was ice cold.
"Since you claimed to be raising the dragon cities, my first price is that you keep your word and do so." Deidra closed her eyes for a moment and sighed heavily. "Even if this fails, you will pay both my prices."
Nix watched as her hands traced complex symbols in the air, a small breach opened up between him and the lone dragon egg. Without asking, he picked up Del and moved forward.
"Nix.." Del's face was pale; her white hair hung in her face. "Come closer; I wish to say something."
Nix nodded and bent until his ear was next to her mouth. She whispered a few words and then kissed his cheek. Without speaking further, he placed her through the breach.
[Dragon's Egg] [Del Tali][Soul Striking Blade]
Nix's animator interface popped up, he stared at it for a moment, wishing he could just remove the dagger, but it was grayed out.
[Animate the Dragon's Egg Containing Del Tali?]
The small breach closed, and the egg resumed a healthier glow, much like the other three. Nix glanced at Deidra, who was watching him without expression. "What now?"
"I don't really know. As far as I know, this is a first." Deidra placed a hand on the outside of the egg. "I can only say at this point that there is life inside."
Nix nodded. "Thanks."
"What did she say to you?"
Nix felt his throat tighten up; it was too familiar a scene to discuss with someone he barely knew. "What's the second price?"
"Should be easy for you." Deidra moved back toward the other three eggs and waited for him to approach. "Place your hands on this egg."
"Sure." Nix moved forward and placed his hands on the smooth surface. It was warm to the touch. "Now what?"
Deidra's voice lowered; her tone was almost gentle. "It isn't possible for you to hurt them, so don't worry. I want you to push your elements into them one at a time."
Nix almost dropped his hands but kept them in place. "Towards what end?"
"A dragonspawn's development has a lot to do with elemental exposure. I've always used my own flames, but you've seen dragons that had other elements."
Nix nodded. "Ice, Water, and Earth."
"These eggs haven't formed elemental bonds yet; even their genders are still undetermined." Deidra gestured for him to start.
Nix treated the egg like his wrath hilt. First, he pushed emerald flames into it; he let the flames rage until something told him it was enough, then he switched to his Gemini flames and repeated the process. He slowly cycled through his other flames before moving on to his other elements: water, Ice, Air, and Lightning.
The entire process took nearly half an hour; he was forced to rest for a few minutes before moving to the next one. He gladly accepted a mana potion from Deidra to hasten the process.
"I hadn't realized you added lightning and water." Deidra watched him work, secretly pleased with her choice. "You'll keep this between us?"
Nix finished the second egg and moved to the last. "It's a secret?"
Deidra shook her head. "Not really, just more of a private matter."
"Then, I won't mention it."
After nearly two hours, he finished the last egg. His head buzzed slightly, and his body felt heavy. "What now?"
"Take the egg to her people. I have no way of knowing how long it will take." Deidra's expression grew serious. "Or if she will even survive. Such a thing is unprecedented."
An exhausted Nix stepped through the breach in the Market square of Ever Flame a few hours later; in his arms, he carried a large dragon egg. Sai Tali was waiting there; the Ain'Dhassi elder looked utterly lost.
"Nix!" Bali's eyes lit up when she saw him. She didn't ask the first question that popped into her head, even though she really wanted to.
Nix sat the egg down carefully and faced Del's grandfather. "Del has been placed inside this egg. She still lives, but beyond that, I don't know."
Sai Tali placed his hands on the outside of the egg and closed his eyes. He remained like that for several seconds before opening them again. "I can feel Del inside. I will take things from here, Nix."
Nix opened a breach to take him back to Oasis, although the egg was heavy, the elder held it comfortably. He stopped and turned before stepping through. "Thank you, Nix. Whatever happens now, I'm content with the effort you've given."
Bali's face lit up with a smile as she hugged Nix with both arms. "Thanks, Boss! I knew you'd do something, I knew it."
Nix patted her white hair. "Gather my officers, and let's plan the assault."
An hour later, Nix and the Inferno Officers sat around the table of Ever Flame's Town Hall. While Nix was absent, Jun Li had sent out scout teams and was working on a plan.
/Inferno: Jun Li: I believe an elite strike at the Eastern Camp's leader will throw them into chaos. Take Alpha Team and kill the boss.
/Inferno: Semmi: We can do it Nix, just like the Nether Emperor.
/Inferno: Jun Li: We'll hit them now and then worry about the Western camp tomorrow.
/Inferno: Nix: Let me scout out the camp, find a good spot to open a breach. Me, Wind, Fajii, Semmi, and Pon. After I take a look, we'll discuss the details.