470 Harvest Fair part four
"No... I don't want to be a pig." Chiba stared at the pig puppet that Nix had made for the contest. The golden-haired goddess had gone nearly a week without wearing her ring.
Nix smiled at his Sword Master and shrugged. "Fine, I was only asking. I'll get one of the Trams to do it. Not everyone wants to be greased up and run around in the mud while a bunch of shirtless men try and capture you."
Chiba's pale face blushed slightly as her creepy smile widened considerably. "I'm sorry... What was that last part?"
Nix held up a hand. "No worries. I just thought it would be more entertaining if we didn't use a real pig."
Chiba cleared her throat. "I was being too selfish. Of course, if my lovely Apprentice asks me, then I will definitely do it."
Nix nodded to himself while keeping a straight face, she was way too easy. "I'll grease you up myself."
Chiba stepped closer and lowered her voice slightly. "Who's my date for the Harvest dance?"
"Elan Mtui... Is that acceptable?"
Unexpected the beautiful swordmaster blushed, "B-Breach Commander Mtui?"
Nix nodded. "He owes me a favor, but to be honest it didn't take any convincing."
Chiba stared at him for a moment and then nodded slightly. "Of course not, I'm a beautiful woman after all."
"Hmm... If you say so." Nix stood up and spotted Shae standing next to the livestock tent. "Gonna walk around for a bit, we'll meet up later."
Chiba watched him walk away, her creepy smile not fading at all. "Make sure you don't grease the pig before I'm in it," she called after him.
"Did my dad make those?" Nix decided that the Salamander would look good in just about anything, and as one of the few people who've seen her naked, he could attest to her looking just as impressive wearing nothing.
Shae nodded and pushed back the straw hat that was shading her face. She wore blue overalls, comfortable shoes, and a white shirt. Her twin red braids dangling from the hat completed the 'farmer girl' picture. "I forgot what he called them, but Semmi and Junie both loved them, you'll be getting their requests soon enough."
"Overalls... No one really wears them anymore, but they were big when I was a kid. The straw hat is the topping. I like it!"
Shae stood up on her tiptoes and planted a kiss on his lips. "As agreed, you are all mine today."
Nix grabbed her hand, his yellow eyes taking in the crowd that was pouring in. At the last minute, Inferno opened the Fair up to all of the 12 pillars. Deidra herself personally spoke to everyone before they stepped into Haven. "Let's walk around to the far side, and save the livestock for last."
Shae clapped happily. "We'll see my peppers!"
"You entered your Ghost Peppers?"
The redhead nodded and favored him with a sweet smile. "Of course! I've worked hard on them."
Nix didn't deny the words, the problem was that only fire users could eat them. Neither he nor Pon even dared try more than a tiny portion. "Good luck."
Shae leaned against them while the couple walked along the outside of the tents. "You're probably wondering where everyone is. Hyai is in the baking tent, Fajii is with the judges and Raine is in the Great Desert."
Nix paused in mid-step. "Great Desert? Why would she be there?"
Shae squeezed his hand slightly. "Are you worried? Mina has been staying there for the last few days, she says the dry air helps with her pregnancy."
"How would a desert help and Aquarion?" Nix knew a fib when he heard one. "Does Raine even know Min?"
"Don't ask so many questions. She's your date for the dance, but you've other obligations." Shae pointed at the mud-pit that had been roped off. "Are you taking part?"
Nix knew she deliberately changed the subject. "Could we meet again? At the place where I went to check on my three friends?"
Shae's brown eyes widened slightly, a moment later she covered his mouth with both hands. As an NPC, her every move was carefully monitored. "In a few days, I'll be doing a quest for the Fire Temple. Perhaps when I get back."
Nix nodded, as they discussed in Virtuna; a quest for the Fire Temple meant that she was going to log out for a short while. "I'll wait until you get back then, it's no big deal, I thought we'd make you a garden here on the ranch."
The first tent had three long aisles running the length of it, on either side of those were tables that displayed the entrants. A large sign that read 'From the Gardens of Haven," hung across the middle.
Shae made a face when they stopped at the first table, it was her entry. "Nothing, I entered three different types."
Nix chuckled at her expression. "I doubt the judges even dared try them."
Shae nodded in agreement. "I've been cheated."
"Nix! Come and try some!" Milat stood behind a table that displayed several different types of nuts. Zhava and a half dozen Aquarions took up nearly all the tables in the tent.
Nix sampled one of the acorn sized nuts. "These were grown in the water?"
Milat nodded, "water chestnuts, turnzic, and galapo."
The chestnut was crunchy and much sweeter than he remembered. "You should give some of these to Hyai, she could bake something with them."
Milat pointed at the box near the exit. "If you like them, be sure and vote."
Shae pushed Nix toward the next table. "He's already voting for my peppers."
All three Trams sat behind the last table near the exit. There were three different kinds of berries and several jars of honey. A big blue ribbon was displayed next to the honey.
"We have a winner?"Nix glanced at his Salamander companion who was frowning. "I should try some." He picked up one of the small wooden spoons that had been made for sampling.
Shae watched his face slowly light up as he tasted the golden honey. "It's good? Let me have some!" She grabbed another spoon and dipped it in the jar. "Oh... That is so... Well, I mean it's not bad. Certainly a good effort."
The three Trams glanced at each other but didn't comment. Ginger pointed at the next table where dozens of smaller jars had been placed. "You don't want the free sample?"
"Sample?" Shae's hand flashed out as she grabbed two of them. "One's for Mina..."
Nix didn't comment, there was a small box with a notepad for voting next to the exit. Out of loyalty, he wrote down Shae's ghost pepper entry."
The next tent housed the Haven Spirits, both Pon and Wind were standing in front of a singular long table that housed an assortment of kegs, jugs, and bottles.
Pon held a tall mug of beer in his hand, he grabbed one for Nix when they noticed him approaching. "Our best effort, although we didn't win."
Nix took a long drink, his face showing how much he liked it. "Junie's wine win?"
Wind pointed to the far end of the table. "Tess made several barrels of cider from her orchard. We entered them for her since she couldn't be here."
"Cider won?" Nix shook his head at was obviously bad judging. "We should have put more beer drinkers on the panel."
Pon topped off his mug and followed the pair as they walked down the table. "All the baked goods are in the next tent, you lucky bastard. Hyai won just about everything. Best pie, best muffin, best cake." The old fire mage shamelessly came over to eat several times a week.
Hyai was nowhere to be seen in the next tent, the group that consisted of Pon, Wind, Nix and Shae each grabbed a slice of their favorite pie and walked through while eating.
"I"ll be damned if her pie doesn't go good with my beer. I'll have to get Semmi to start baking."
Nix shared a glance with Wind but didn't comment. Semmi was a notoriously bad cook. "Right, perhaps she can start with something easy."
Wind gave him a deadpan look. "Like toast."
"My girl won!" Shae took off toward the far end of the tent.
The last tent they walked through was filled with an assortment of livestock. Nix hadn't realized all the different ranches that had been started in Haven. Most of those were from Inferno's lifestyle members, which numbered close to a hundred. In a relatively short amount of time, Inferno had become a guild where the raiders were severely outnumbered by the crafters.
Shae was already playing with Moonlight by the time the three men arrived. There was a large blue ribbon pinned outside of her stall. Nix had given her the foal as a present, but in reality, it had come from his ranch. Nightmare hadn't shown any interest in Flash since then.