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[Write about an extreme or silly sport. If none inspire you, make up the rules for your own game.]

Two words: combat juggling

I know, it sounds crazy, but listen! Two people are given three juggling pins each, begin juggling, then move to disrupt their opponent’s juggling solely by striking the enemy’s pins. When one hits the ground, the owner of the pin that fell loses.

IT LOOKS FUN AS HELL!

However, a prerequisite to playing is being able to efficiently juggle the pins… I’ll have to work on that skill (which currently sits at around level 3 of 100).

But seeing as how it can be done with pins, I want to try it with little beanbags, soccer balls, or something. I bet I’d be really good at it! And with pins, of course, but only when I learn to juggle them xD

So, to address my, and I’m sure some of the readers’ concerns…how can I spin this prompt into short story?

“Still only small scratches.” Nehren sighed in relief, rolling up the torn sleeve of the arm he just inspected. “And I still don’t feel any poison in my system, so I’m in the clear for another day.”

Nehren sat against the nearest tree and fell to his bottom beneath it, relishing in that night’s rest period. Tired, he removed his backpack from his shoulders and dug around in the compartments for food. When he found some jerky, he took a small sip from his water canteen and gave a prayer to the gods—for all he knew, they were the only reason he’d survived for so long. Biting into his rations, a tear slid down his cheek.

He quickly wiped it away and slapped himself.

“Stop it, Nehren! Tears only waste precious water… And besides, my time here is almost up.”

He turned his gaze to the orange, and dimming, sky. Soon, there would be stars.

“Or, more accurately, the illusion of stars.” Nehren almost heard his sister say.

He fought the tears back again.

“Damn it, sis, we shouldn’t have come here…”

Another night of crying himself to sleep.

……

Nehren was awakened by the shaking of the earth and sky as what seemed to be a humongous cannon went off somewhere in the distance. The Hunters would be released in ten minutes. It was time to hide.

As always, the boy removed what looked like a large blanket from underneath his clothing. However, it was no mere blanket for keeping warm, instead being one of the most useful items Nehren ever saw appear in the Redemption Hunt—a camouflage covering. With it, he could almost perfectly disappear into almost any tree’s leaves, which was how he’d survived so long.

But he only found it after he lost his sister.

Putting on his backpack, Nehren ran in a random direction for two solid minutes before quickly climbing a decently large tree. Not only did he have to be careful of where to be, because the Hunters could see every Prey’s location at night, but Nehren had to be careful of where he thought was safe. He wished he could hide in the biggest trees in the forest, but the Hunters were already aware that one of the Prey had a camouflage covering for leaves. It was the best he could do to hide in the least-conspicuous tree rather than the one that would offer the most camo.

“Just a few minutes, now…” Nehren’s voice quivered slightly as he positioned himself on a branch with the valuable covering protecting him from sight.

It felt like an eternity, but the second cannon shot resounded throughout the Arena, scaring birds into taking flight and squirrels into hiding.

Three hours was how long Nehren sat in the tree before he could sense any trace of Hunters. It was clear that they were specifically after him. When they got closer, he could barely make out parts of their conversation.

“…not the right trees…”

“…bastard things he…ide forever…”

“…ready…has the fire…”

Nehren’s eyes shot open.

“FIRE?!” He thought in panic. “But they’ll lose points if they cause too much environmental destruction! Why are they being so persistent?!

Then, it happened. Nehren heard laughter and smelled smoke. Those monsters were setting trees ablaze.

“Maybe they’ll never get to my tree?” Nehren hoped, actively trying to convince himself that everything would be fine.

At some point, reality seemed to have enough of his existence, because not only was Nehren’s tree on fire, but one of the Hunters spotted his covering.

“He’s up here!” A female voice shouted. “Get him down so I can skewer him!”

An explosion, much smaller than the morning cannon, blasted at Nehren’s ears as he realized what was going on. Quickly, he did his best to store the covering in his clothing before assessing the situation.

“They’re going to fell this entire fucking tree!”

Nehren watched as a group of three Hunters, all dressed in fancy, expensive robes which were no doubt covered in magical runes, chipped away at the trunk of the tree he sat atop. Despite the tree trunk being over four meters thick, the teens-to-young-adults made quick work of the wood with only their fists, each of their punches crushing a large section.

“N-no way…”

Suddenly, Nehren’s eyes focused in on one of the two female Hunters. She was quite beautiful and wore the most luxurious robes he’d ever seen, but he cared not for those insignificant details.

“Red…sash…”

Around the Hunter’s neck was a long, crimson sash with patterns of fierce beasts sewed onto it—information he would never forget, for that was how his sister described her attack before she died.

He vividly remembered the scene as though it had occurred just a week before…because it had. He and his younger sister took turns silently cleaning the sweat, blood, and other filth from themselves in a small river. It was Nehren’s turn to wash while his sister kept watch.

Unfortunately, she had been spotted and quickly chased down for the kill. Yet, before her heart was pierced by a hand clad in fire, she had screamed to alert her brother of the Hunters by describing the lead attacker.

“Probably in the hopes that I’d avoid her most, since she seems to be among the more powerful Hunters…” Nehren shakily pulled a dagger out of his backpack. “But I can’t do that.”

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A note from FaebyenTheFairy

Yaharo~

What I had in mind for the setting was a fantasy world where the rich would allow untalented and poor folk into their sects only if they survived an "Arena Hunt", where young members of the sect, Hunters, hunted the people who wanted to join: Prey.

Motivation for joining? Life outside a place ruled by a sect is hell.


About the author

FaebyenTheFairy

Bio: An aspiring author.

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