425 A Different Path conclusion
Are you okay?" Nix shook his head to clear it. All of the Ice in the room had turned black.
Shi nodded. "Black Ice Nemesis? I've never heard of such a thing."
Tharaka picked his way through the icy rubble until he stood in front of them. "This is unexpected; however, Black Ice is much stronger than its counterpart. Would you display your path and spells again, Nix?"
Nix nodded. "Sure."
Primary: Path of the Elemental [Salamander]
Emerald Flame Strands 100 [Flame Snare] [Fire Root]
Fire Seed [Emerald]
Scorched Earth Mire
Chained Lightning II
Waters of Life.
Black Ice Field.
Black Ice Sculptor
Black Ice Armor
Black Ice Weapon
Tharaka examined the changes. "Your path changed to Elemental. Fire and Earth spells have been overwritten. Amazing... If I'm right, you can use any of your elements for those now. " The Ashobel compared the list to what he read before the changes. "The Earth spell Rockfiend has been replaced by Elemental Fiend, try casting fiend with a different element."
Nix has activated [Lightning: Fiend]
Immediately a slender form appeared in front of them. It was half the size of a person but crackled with electricity.
Nix couldn't stop the grin that covered his face. "Okay. That guy is badass."
When Nix returned to the Turtle House a few hours later, it was well after midnight. A message on his hud notified him that they had a guest sleeping on the couch upstairs. A quick glance at the bed told him that Shae had left him plenty of room. Whether this was by design or accident, he couldn't say.
Although curious about his new abilities, fatigue sapped his motivation to examine them all in detail, so he settled for reading through the Black Ice ones.
[Black Ice Field: AoE ] Jagged shards of Black Ice erupt from the ground causing damage and immobilizing the enemy
[Black Ice Sculptor] Turn an enemy to Black Ice. This condition exists until the target is attacked. Only one enemy may be sculpted at a time.
[Black Ice Armor: Group Buff] Coat your armor with the protection of Black Ice. Stacks with all shields and Buffs.
[Avalanche: AoE Escape] Covers the Battlefield in several feet of Black Snow and evacs your team to the nearest binding point.
[Black Ice Weapon: Group Buff] Adds Black Ice Damage to your weapons. This damage stacks with all other weapon buffs.
"Underwhelming. The rest can wait until tomorrow." Nix stowed his armor in the closet and carefully inserted himself under the covers. The soft warmth of Shae's body quickly put him to sleep.
As his body slowly woke up several hours later, Nix noted with sleepy satisfaction that this was the ideal way to wake up. He could feel the silky scented hair of Shae against his neck, while the smooth, inviting warmth of her skin rested against him. He opened his eyes, a smile already on his face.
Shae moved her head slightly and propped her chin on his chest. "You're finally awake."
"Where's our guest?"
"Downstairs. I decided to stay here and enjoy you to myself." Shae placed a warm hand on his chest. "So many changes, you should consult Tai or Deidra about your new path."
Nix shook his head slightly and wrapped her up in his arms. "How about I just figure it out as I go?"
Shae's lips curved in a slight smile. "We didn't get a chance to scout the camp properly last night, but we did rescue a captive from the Desert Fox Clan."
Nix tapped her nose gently with his finger. "Seems like mission failure. Now I have to punish you."
Shae's smile widened. "She has a tattoo of a scorpion on her foot. It seems like it's a tradition among the women in the Desert Fox Clan."
"The Desert Fox Clan? She was a slave?"
Shae nodded. "Taken three years ago. There are more of her clan at the camp."
Nix let his head sink back into his pillow. He'd have to contact Lucid and bring her to the Gemini Temple. "Fine. No punishment. That's really good news."
Shae nodded in agreement. "Now, we can stage a Rat-rescue."
Nix frowned at her. "No, no, no. Only I get to say things like that. The Rat-King plans the Rat-Rescue."
Shae covered a laugh by kissing the side of his face. "Can't I be the Rat-Queen?"
Nix shook his head. "No. That's not a thing."
The salamander slid from under him and straddled his waist; her long red hair rested against his chest. "We want to come."
Nix nodded. "Ideally, this sort of thing can be done quietly. In and out before anyone even knows we were there."
[Gemini Temple Training Yard 1100 Hours]
Nix stood with Elune, the Gemini High Priestess, and Esta the Head Acolyte. Elune's dual-colored face showed her interest while the Inferno Guild Leader explained his plan. Esta, however, was more interested in Nix's new elements.
The Storm Singer hovered in the air above him. "Ice, Lightning, and Earth added since going to Everspire. Do they give elements away?" Esta's translucent form swayed closer to him. "If you become a Lightning Nemesis, I shall help you with the transition."
Nix shook his head slightly and continued speaking. Esta had an extremely short attention span, but as Head Acolyte, she took good care of the Arch Winds. "I will bring two Scorpion Titans here, along with a dozen or so people. We will try to use the Gemini traits to unlock an extinct bloodline."
Elune nodded. "Security parameters for the Temple have already been changed. The new Acolytes will be able to access the Training Yard and the first level of the Gemini Temple. They will be unable to exit into Haven."
"Perfect." The regular Gemini Acolytes were all Arch Winds, so they would be dismissed to Air'Voilla until the training either failed or was completed. "Contact me if there are issues."
[Create Breach: Gemini Temple: Houdinya]
Nix stepped through the breach and entered Tai'Qui's sanctuary. Fajii's familiar face smiled at him from the mud pool. "I thought you were going to be training?"
Fajii nodded, her bare brown shoulders looked enticing. "This is training."
Nix frowned at the two Titans lounging nearby. "You two better not have been sitting there when Fajii entered the pool."
The white lion yawned slowly, its massive fangs on full display. "We turned around, Nix." Nihlus's voice held a hint of amusement.
"Hmm..." Nix turned to Tai'Qui, who was watching the interaction. "I'll be needing Sindi. We may have located descendants of the Scorpion Clan."
Tai nodded slowly. "Fajii has told me. I wish to visit the Temple also. Would this be possible?"
"Yes. Use the portal from Loki, Fajii will escort you."
Tai'Qui exited the pool, the mud running smoothly off of her brown skin as she made her way to the grassy bank. She clothed herself with a wave of her hand. "I sense that the elements within you have been calmed. May I inspect?"
Nix nodded. Tai'Qui was someone he trusted. "Yes."
A brown hand was placed on his shoulder, Tai'Qui's brown eyes stared into his face for several moments before stepping away. "A number of your spells have changed to Elemental."
"Is that odd?"
"Very." Tai'Qui stepped back. "It means you can use any of your elements to cast them. If you were a dragon..." She adjusted the blue bandanna wrapped around her head. "I need a favor, but I'm hesitant to ask."
"Go ahead." Nix exchanged favors with the Earth Dragon regularly; he didn't feel like either of them incurred debt.
"Jargon has petitioned to be my partner for the Krelandur." Tai'Qui kept her voice calm. The Golden Dragon had always been known for cruelty and she disliked him. "My champion is indisposed and cannot defend my stance."
Unexpectedly the Whit Lion roared loudly, startling everyone in the sanctuary. "I can still fight him. The audacity of that dragon!"
"Calm yourself. You do not know your form well enough yet." Tai'Qui turned her brown eyes back toward Nix. "Is it too much to ask?"
Nix shook his head slightly. "Nope. I've got some spare time. How about now?"
/Inferno: Nix: Anyone in Solomon City?
/Inferno: Jun Li: We're at the training yard in the Greater House.
/Inferno: Nix: I'll be there in a few minutes.
[Whisper: Semmi to Nix] Is that White Lion with you?
[Whisper: Nix to Semmi] Nihlus? Yes, he's here.
[Whisper: Semmi to Nix] Bring him too.
Tai'Qui's smiled widened. "That's rather soon."
"Prey Waits. I'll be in the Greater House Training yard." Nix turned toward the two Titans. "Come with me."
Nix opened a breach and waited while the two Titans stepped through before following them.
Tai'Qui watched the breach close. "Is he always so sudden?"
Fajii shrugged slightly. "Nix is Nix. Can you arrange the fight today?"
Tai'Qui nodded. "I choose the time and place."
[Direct Contact: Jargon Kane]
Tai'Qui crossed her arms, her mood immediately turning sour when Jargon's holo appeared in front of her. "One hour, Greater House of Inferno Training yard in Solomon City. Have your Champion ready."