359 Soup“s small Upgrade
"That's nice, I guess. Take a look." Nix linked the items so Hyai could study them.
Animation Manual [Minaturization Skill]
Description: Create smaller animations and
puppets using this ancient technique.
Miniature ratios come in .25, .5 and .75
Phoenix [Minature Animation .25]
Description: This Phoenix has all the
capabilities of the full-sized version.
Sand Snake [Minature Animation .25]
Description: This Sand Snake has all
the capabilities of the full-sized version.
Shadow Sphinx [Miniature Animation .25]
Description: This Shadow Sphinx has all
the capabilities of the full-sized version.
Activation Orb x 3
bonds a high-level animation
to a target.
Hyai reached for the Sphinx puppet. It was the size of her hand. "So small? What is a Shadow Sphinx?"
Nix shook his head. "Looks like a tiny black rat to me. One good stomp, and he's gone."
Hyai held it up and studied it for a moment, "Its body is a bit too long and slim for a rat."
Nix left the Sand Snake coiled on the floor. He could tell that it was roughly two meters long and the thickness of his arm. "The full-sized version of this should be around eight meters."
Hyai stared at the snake for a moment before a slight smile surfaced on her face. "You definitely should give that to Pon."
Nix nodded. "I know, right? That would freak Semmi out." It was common knowledge in Inferno that the blond officer had an aversion to snakes. "I wish I knew what the natural talent trees of these creatures are."
Hyai considered the problem. "I'll send Ronnie a message and ask if her library has any information on them."
Nix stretched his arms over his head, letting one arm settle around the redhead's shoulder when he dropped them. "I'll see what Zinu wants tomorrow. After that, I'm going to find Goralpri."
Hyai put the puppet on the table and leaned her head on his shoulder. "You know where all the fallen cities are now?"
Nix used his hud to bring up his notes on the fallen cities. "No. I have no confirmation on Goralpri, maybe the information we received from the Cabal will finally be right."
[Fallen Cities of Everspire]
[Elynmoor: Yandro] Renamed Inferno City, currently connected to the Dragon Cities.
[Chyanama: Zylanexor] Currently resides in Nether, under Leva's control.
[Dyrekstad: Hierophant] Renamed Alliance City, currently in the Elementia seed world.
[Goralpri: Bo'raz] Western Mid-Spire.
[Aquarius: Neptiphago] Renamed Filamina, presently in the Polar Ice Cap of Colonial.
[Icaraphet: Tharaka] South of Inuit in Oasis.
[Verynzai: Unaqoir] North of Titania.
"Goralpri is next? When are you doing Verynzai?"
Nix closed his hud and leaned back against the couch. "Verynzai is the one closest to Khione. Because of her proximity, we shouldn't touch that one until we are ready to take her."
Hyai stood up and pulled Nix to his feet. "Come on, let's get some sleep."
Nix put the brakes on slightly, making her slow down. "I'm not really tired yet."
"Me neither." Hyai favored him with a smile when he stopped trying to hold her back. "Smart man."
[0900, Near the mouth of the Ionova River]
Nix banked hard right, avoiding the outreached hands of the Water Witch, he dived down toward the dense jungle-like sea growth. If he made it into the weeds, Soup's chances of catching him would dwindle away.
The blue sea turtle chirped loudly when the larger turtle pursuing him moved to cut him off. Nix just made it into the weeds when they were blasted apart.
Thirty meters of dense seaweed disappeared, and Nix felt a giant flipper slap casually against his shell. "DAMN IT!"
Ducky's light laughter carried even in the seawater. "So close, Nix!"
Nix slowed down and curved back toward shore. "That's cheating, Soup!"
Ducky held on to Soup's shell as the three of them headed back to shore. As a Water Witch, she was fast and agile in the water. Unfortunately, she wasn't quite up to turtle standards. "Make me a Turtle form too, Nix! Oh, and Soup says, it's not cheating."
Nix tried to scowl at them, but his turtle face was incapable of it. "Did she tell you that?"
Ducky nodded. "Of course."
"You can understand Soup?"
Ducky shrugged nonchalantly. "Sometimes, mostly, I interpret her very strong emotions. Just now, she felt found your words funny."
"Soup understands me?" Nix wasn't completely surprised. He often gave her directions, and she would always carry them out correctly.
A few minutes later, the three of them were sunning themselves on the sandy banks of the Ionova River. Ducky lay across Soup's shell, while both turtles closed their eyes in the warm sun.
"Is your turtle form going to grow, Nix?"
"No. It doesn't have any real attacks either, good armor and a basic beak-bite are all I have."
"I think it's beautiful." Ducky patted Soup's shell. "She agrees."
"This form is part of my armor set; recently, I received three puppets that I can assign as a permanent skill."
Ducky sat up slowly, her blue eyes showing interest. "The ones from the Eidengal Armory?"
"Yep. A Phoenix, a tiny creature called a Shadow Sphinx and a Sand Snake."
"Are you keeping the Phoenix?" Ducky smiled sweetly; she had already guessed that he would keep that one.
"Yes. The Shadow Sphinx would make a good scout, although I can't know what its true abilities are until I activate it."
"Show us the Shadow Sphinx." Ducky slid until her bare feet dangled over the sand. She wore a blue swimsuit that Nix created, and her short blue hair was slicked back on her head.
Nix dropped his turtle form and handed her the Sphinx; the tiny creature was about a third the size of his Nether Rats. "All three puppets from Eidengal were miniaturized; after reading the manual, I understand why. It's a horrible cheat."
"You used the manual?" Ducky held the Sphinx in front of Soup so that she could see it properly. "Why is it cheating?"
Nix considered the question for a moment. "The puppets have the same strengths of the full-sized version, at only a fraction of the material cost."
"So, you could make two or three for the price of one?"
Nix nodded. "Hypothetically, yes. My animation skills aren't advanced enough to be able to make anything miniature."
Ducky grinned suddenly. "Soup wants the Shadow Sphinx."
"She wants it. The feeling is very strong." Ducky patted Soup's shell. "Don't worry; he'll give it to you."
Nix frowned at the Water Witch. "I will?"
Ducky pretended not to notice his expression. "All the times that Soup has come through for us, she never gets anything."
Nix experienced a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. As a sea turtle, he couldn't really give her anything. He gave in without arguing. "Fine. Don't blame me if it doesn't work."
Nix removed the activation stone from his inventory; he placed it in the same hand as the Shadow Sphinx.
[Assign the Shadow Sphinx form to your Spirit Companion, Soup?]
"Yes." Nix cringed slightly when both the stone and Shadow Sphinx disappeared from his hand.
Ducky slid off Soup's shell with an apology. "Sorry, Soup, go ahead."
An instant later, the giant turtle disappeared and was replaced with a tiny black creature that closely resembled a mink. He looked around the beach with dark eyes; when it spotted Nix, it darted forward.
Nix felt nothing when she climbed up his body and perched on his shoulder next to his head. A soft nose sniffed the side of his face. "Holy crap."
Soup has used [Phase Shift]
An instant later, Soup appeared on Ducky's shoulder.
The Water Witch clapped both of her hands together excitedly. "Nix! Summon, everyone!"
"Is it a big deal?" Nix smiled when Soup shifted back to his shoulder. "That shifting ability is pretty nice. Wonder what the range is."
Nix left his companions on the beach and walked toward the Turtle house.
/Inferno: Nix: Going to Free Trader City today, anyone else in that area?
/Inferno: Semmi: Alpha team, minus you, is doing a quest closeby in Mocai.
Mocai was one of the four provinces that made up the four corners in Free Trader City. It wasn't really that close.
[1100, Free Trader City]
Gil and the Qi siblings were waiting when Nix and Floyd gated into Free Trader City. Each of the demon hybrids gripped one of the Turtle Titan's hands and were pulling him in opposite directions.
/Alpha: Nix: Don't pull too hard, or else we'll end up with two of him.
/Alpha: Sasi: Nix! Who is your friend?
/Alpha: Nix: This is Floyd, one of the members of Inferno. He wasn't doing anything, so I brought him along.
/Alpha: Floyd: Hi.
/Alpha: Sasi: So handsome!
/Alpha: Rabi: Snake eyes? Do you have a snake form?
/Alpha: Floyd: I'm a Naga.
/Alpha: Nix: This is Sasi and Rabi; they are both from the Qi family. You've already met the lazy turtle guy.
Nix scanned the area for Zinu and was able to pick her out immediately. She was the only woman in the market area that was covered in mud.
Zinu has joined Alpha team.