Phoenix Phire Chapter 105: Raven

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"Raven" Erin uttered a single word. It took Nix a few moments to find the black bird perched in the branches of a lilac tree. The tree was in full bloom, its pink flowers neatly masked the bird's presence.

Fajii squeezed his hand. "Eron can hold the bird for a few minutes, it won't realize anything is different."

[Captured Spirit]
Eron is holding Sirca the Black.

Nix jumped down and approached the Princess, he kept stealth on and stopped a few meters from her. "Do not be alarmed, this is Nix from Inferno."

To her credit, she barely jumped. She placed the rose she was trimming in the basket and reached for another. "Why are you stealthed?"

"Inferno has uncovered a plot against Phelinomia. You were once engaged to Tu-Khat from Wisteria. Ten years ago he was captured and replaced with a doppelganger. That doppelganger assumed his identity and canceled the engagement. Since then he has been ruling Wisteria while the real Tu-Khat was imprisoned."

"We had planned to unite the three central kingdoms." Festa ran a gloved hand across her forehead. "If this is true, What can we do?"

"The Necromancer who replaced him has at least one spy here, the raven in the lilac tree behind me."

"Spying?" Festa's voice frosted over with anger. "That old bastard-King Brahmi has to be involved."

Nix nodded, temporarily forgetting he was stealthed. Brahmi was the King of Espana. The uniting of the three kingdoms would have relegated him to a glorified governor.

"Eron says time is short." Fajii's voice spoke softly from behind him.

"We have to go Festa, our hold on the raven is limited. Make up a reason to come to Glory. We will figure it out there" Nix moved to the wall and climbed back up. Eron released the raven and they quickly retreated from the rose garden.

The duo remained in stealth and quickly made their way through the streets of Lohai. They ducked behind a shop near the docks and dropped stealth.

/Inferno: Nix: We made contact with Festa. She was being watched.

/Inferno: Jun Li: Were you discovered?

/Inferno: Nix: No, we'll be coming back to Glory now. Let's gate back, Captain Delphi can return to Glory with the Phoenix.

***************

Within the hour, Tu-Khat and the officers from Inferno were gathered on the back deck of Nix's houseboat. Fajii wasn't part of the meeting, but she was relaxing in the hot-tub, presumably standing by in case they needed to question her. Shae was also in attendance since she decided to help take on the Necromancer.

Tu-Khat was leaning against the rail, too nervous to sit. "You made contact with Princess Festa?"

Nix nodded, "thanks to Eron, we discovered a spy and were able to neutralize it long enough to speak with the Princess."

Semmi glanced at the black fox laying comfortably on a seat cushion. She didn't dare bring Tilde out with him around, apparently, the black fox had an irresistible charm. "What did she say?"


"Our time was limited, I told her about the doppelganger switch and the Necromancer that now rules Wisteria."

Jun Li had a map of Wisteria open. She was confident that they would easily win a naval battle. "Anything else?"

"Yes, I invited her here to discuss this properly." Nix smiled at Tu-Khat's reaction. He was jumpier than a cat.

"She's coming here?" The rightful King of Wisteria looked down at his robes. "I'm not properly dressed to receive the Princess."

"Receive the Princess? The f*ck are you talking about?" Nix frowned at the King, they were about to start a fight with a Necromancer and Tu-Khat was worried about his wardrobe?

Shae lay a hand on Nix's arm. "He just wants to make a good impression on the woman he was engaged to."

Semmi cocked her head to one side, nodding as if she was talking to someone. "Just received a bit of intel from Sulane."

Nix thought well of the Guild Leader from Resolute. Inferno had helped them attain the Earth Pearl or at least a very good copy of it. "And?"

"Four ships, including the Fire Storm have left Lohai and are on their way here." Semmi smiled when she said it. The Fire Storm was the Flag Ship of the Phelinomia Navy.

/Inferno: Jun Li: ETA?

/Inferno: Semmi: Five hours.

/Inferno: Nix: That's pretty late.

Nix stood up suddenly. "You need to stay here, for now, Tu-Khat, I'll make you something suitable to wear."

/Inferno: Nix: We'll meet at the docks in four hours. Be prepared to move. Prey waits.

/Inferno: Ronnie: I love it when you say that Nix.

Nix grabbed Shae's hand and squeezed it. "Need a few minutes of your time."

Shae nodded, Nansu or Fajii must have braided her hair, it hung down past her waist in a simple but attractive weave. "Yes, of course, Nix."

After everyone had left, Nix pulled Shae through the sliding door and motioned for her to sit on the bed. "I forgot about something I looted off the Lich King." He pulled out the black crystal and held it out to her.

Necrofire
Description: A tiny spark of
black fire.

Shae stared at the crystal in his hand but didn't make a move to take it. "Black fire Nix...The Lich King had that?"

Nix nodded. "Can we use it?"

"Not you or I, but if we placed it in the Fire Palace Altar." Shae seemed to consider her words carefully. "We could make a Black Fire Mage."

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"You are talking about a Necromancer?" Nix wanted nothing to do with Necromancy, although he wasn't averse to having other Inferno members try it.

"No. More like a hybrid. I doubt they'd be able to summon undead or dominate corpses."

"Hmmm... so useless then?" Nix looked at the crystal in his hand, if nothing else he'd have Darsi make it into a ring.

"One time use Nix. Someone could try the Path of Black Fire." Shae looked interested in the idea. "Anyone but you, of course, your emerald flame is too valuable."

/Inferno: Nix: We have a crystal capable of developing a unique Fire path. Is anyone interested in becoming a Black Fire Mage?

/Inferno: Pon: You have Necrofire?

/Inferno: Nix: Yes... Interested?

/Inferno: Pon: Hell no, I've spent years tempering my flame.

/Inferno: Wind: Do it old man! I want to see a Black Fire-Nado

/Inferno: Donri: I'm interested.

Shae wrinkled her nose slightly. "Who is Donri?"

"He's a tank actually, pretty good one." Nix didn't hate the idea, Inferno was already loaded at tank. They could always use some fire-based dps. "He's smart and calm."

Shae nodded, "have him meet us at the Fire Palace."

Nix shook his head, "I've got a few things to take care of. Can you handle it alone?"

"Of course." Shae took the crystal from his hand and bent closer until her lips brushed against his. "Don't miss the dock meeting."

"Wouldn't dream of it. Cya there."

********************

Nix stopped by his shop and made a black three-piece suit for Tu-Khat to wear. It definitely wasn't Colonial fashion, but the best Tailor in Glory didn't care in the least. He slipped on some casual clothes and comfortable shoes. If it got out that Nix could make jeans, he'd be overrun with requests. "Too many moochers in Inferno."

A short while later he met Hyai outside of the Kindled Spirit and offered her his arm. She was dressed in a simple blue dress that complimented her curves, her red hair was up in a tidy bun.

She slid an arm through his. "Thanks for the dress."

Nix shrugged. "You work hard for everyone else."

The streets of Glory had changed substantially over the past month. There were no more one-story buildings anywhere in town. Since the lack of Inns caused most visitors to leave on the last ferry, the town became quiet and peaceful with the setting sun.

Bela welcomed him with a warm hug when she answered the door. "Nice to see you again Nix."

"Thanks for having me." Nix shook hands with the mountain standing behind her. His normal-sized hand all but disappeared in Bane's enormous mitt.

Dinner was a quiet affair with wine and easy conversation. Bela wanted to know everything about the chef token that Hyai had brought back from Shangri. Apparently she hadn't activated it yet. The food was the typical pasta that Nix had eaten many times growing up. It reminded him of something Ronnie had once said. What if the NPCs in Colonial were all people? Deep-stays like him, who were hired to perform a certain role in a virtual world.

Nix dropped Hyai off at the Inn a few hours later. He took the gate to the Sea-World and dropped off the suit for Tu-Khat. He had even found a suitable pair of shoes in Dalton's empty shop. After gearing up, he arrived back at the dock a few minutes before the appointed time.
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