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Dart Fairy zips around the stadium field, zig-zagging and dodging attempts from the three horrors to capture him. Jointlock tosses her dagger in front of the tiny creature, intercepting him. She teleports and thrusts her hand at the fairy; he ducks below her hand and jets around her wrist. Gliding up her arm Dart Fairy whizzes past her head and b lines it for center field. The Sabered Prince lands in front of the horror, dropping above the sky. One hand, two hands, three hands, and four hands all fail to grasp the little horror. The Prince continues to jab at the fairy. Up, down, left, right, he can't get the tiny creature. The Prince's hands are moving lightning fast, so fast that his hands create afterimages, and the friction causes air pockets in the troposphere to ignite. Dart Fairy continues to dodge every attempt. The Prince stops and throws a few feints, sizing the horror up. He throws out one more jab; Dart Fairy flies up out of reach. Looking down on the Prince, the fairy sticks its chubby tongue out and blows a raspberry at the Sabered Prince. The Prince flexes all four of his arms; clenching his fists, he strains his entire body, veins popping up everywhere along his skin.

“This little shit is getting on my nerves! We’ve been at this for an hour already!” The Prince looks up at the fairy. “Get down here!”

Dart Fairy crosses his arms and shakes its head no.

“Mhm, Mhm!” Dart Fairy murmurs.

“Get down here right now, this instance! Don’t make me come up there!” The Prince growls.

Wolf King Dosuleius twirls one of his spears. “Trying to reason with the little guy was a fair attempt but pointless. It looks like one of us will have to get him down from there.”

Dosulieus throws his spear at the horror. It misses the fairy, rattling off a barrier protecting the stadium. Dart Fairy laughs at the Wolf King. Dosulieus bares his fangs. Upon seeing the Wolf King's spear, Jointlock plots action.

She throws her dagger up against the barrier, opening a portal to the very top of the stadium; she plunges straight down for the fairy. He screeches in fear and flies downward and off to the side. Not realizing how close he flew to the ground, he’s startled to find both horrors of royalty have sandwiched him between one another. The sabered Prince and Dosuleius stare each other down.

“He’s mine!” They both yell at each other.

Dosulieus reaches for the horror; Reactively, the Prince attempts to swipe the creature up. They both narrowly miss. Both horrors growl at their failed attempts. The fairy zips around the two of them but cannot escape the vacuum created by the Wolf King and the Prince as they reach for the little horror as fast as possible. Dosuleius kicks up dirt, causing the tiny horror to flinch; he swings his cape around and overshadows the creature. The Prince bats the mantle away and dives for the fairy. It escapes from the two horrors and swiftly makes its way to the other side of the arena. The Wolf King snarls at the Prince.

“Rahh! I almost had him!” The Wolf King raises his voice.

“I know! That's why I did what I did!” The Prince snaps back.

The sound of another portal opening catches the attention of the two royal horrors. Jointlock wickedly slings multiple daggers in the direction of the speedy little horror. A portal opens from each blade; first, one arm reaches out of a portal and fails to snatch up Dart Fairy. Her other arm fails to capture the target from another ethereal gateway. A leg appears from the third portal, almost kicking Dart Fairy, though he dodges instinctively. The fourth portal is Jointlock’s head. Her jaws open wide and move in to trap the horror between her teeth. Dart Fairy swiftly maneuvers away from all the portals. The daggers combine into one warp gate, and Jointlock emerges into reality.

“This is proving to be very…very…very…diffi-hard” Her voice is sharp and glitchy—steam billows from her forehead.

“Mhmm,” the Sabered Prince scratches his chin. “We need to work together.” The Prince suggests. The Wolf King gazes at both Jointlock and then the Prince.

“It's not…not…not…a bad idea. At this point, I want to get this over with.” Jointlock points to Sara.

“Besides. Sara is starting to feel the effects of the summoning.”

Sara is standing on one of the presentation pillars; her nose is bleeding, and her skin has gone pale. The Wolf King takes a deep breath.

“We will work together in tandem with one another to still allow one of us to catch the damn thing.” The King motions for Jointlock to join him and the Prince for a huddle.

The three horrors discuss their plan of assault, mumbling and whispers from each horror emanate from their assemblage. The Prince lets out a stifled chuckle, Jointlock glitches out a few words, and the King snarls a phrase. Eventually, they all look over to Dart Fairy, who, while waiting, has his little hands on his hips.

“Ah psh psh psh!” The little horror mocks. “Ah Psh psh psh psh! Hehehehehe!” He laughs hysterically at the horrors, pointing at them.

“Alright, enough of this game!” Says the Wolf King.

He sprouts another spear from his fur and lifts his shield above his head. Jointlock tosses her dagger to the Prince, who jumps into the air above Dosuleius. The Prince lands atop the King’s shield. He launches the Prince right for the fairy, gliding on the King's aspi. Jointlock and Dosuleius split up and run along the opposite edges of the stadium. The Prince rears back and slings the dagger just underneath the horror. Simultaneously, a portal opens up below the horror, the Prince reigning down above from an angle and the King coming to a slide reaching for the fairy. A loud snapping sound emits from the little horror. Jointlock’s grip holds his little legs, his tiny head pinched between the Prince’s two fingers, and his body grasped by the King's thumb and finger. A moment of silence encapsulates the arena.

“Haha, I got him first!” The Prince remarks.

“No..no…no…no, I took hold of him first!” Jointlock responds.

“Clearly, it was I who won this competition!” The King roars.

All three horrors stand in a circle arguing with one another. Dart Fairy is stuck between them all, looking back and forth to each speaking horror. First to the King, then the Prince, then Jointlock. He squirms but cannot break away.

“It seems all three of us caught him at the same time.” The Prince says. “We’ll have to find another way to figure out who will become team captain.”

Jointlock grins. “We could “pull horrors.” Each horror shares a look. Dart Fairy becomes panicked and wiggles more aggressively to escape.

“We did agree not to harm the guy.” Says the Prince. “However, killing it here will only send it back to oblivion, so it isn’t that big of a deal. Sorry, little guy.” The Prince’s saber glimmers in the stadium lights.

“Are we positive the rules will allow him to return?” The Wolf King makes a solid point.

“Damnit.” Jointlock snaps her fingers.

“We can’t stand here all day!” The Prince growls.

Why don’t you tap into the stadium's recording software? I’m sure there must be a camera that was recording something in here, right?

The Prince brings this idea up to the other two horrors. Deacon wonders about checking the links to the central system of the arena. Luckily, enough cameras were recording; they appeared to be motion-activated. He brings the competition up on the main view screen hanging above the center of the field. The final moments of the last assault play out for everyone to see in slow motion. All three horrors grab Dart Fly almost simultaneously; however, one horror made contact first.

“Dammit. Well, she had it first.” The Prince says, gesturing to Jointlock.

“I said…told…told…you I had him first.” Dosuleius sighs and picks up his spear and shield. Jointlock twitches at the shoulders as steam fumes from her temple.

“It would appear so. Congratulations.” The Wolf King throws his spear into the sky and jumps up after it, disappearing back into oblivion.

Jointlock rips open a portal and exits the arena. Sara drops to her knees and heaves heavily. Catching her breath, she hops off the pillar. The Prince approaches Silent Harpy.

“At least you got to watch all the fun. You can go back to oblivion now. Next time, we’ll make sure that you’re a part of what we do.” Silent Harpy nods, cuts open a rift in the ground and jumps into it. Miun finally halts her crying.

The Prince turns away and transforms back into Jacky behind the pillar. Deacon, Sara, and Jacky convene at the center of the arena.

 

“Sara’s the new team captain then?” Jacky says, adjusting his coat. “Works for me, I guess.”

Sara wipes the blood from her nose. “That means I will be fighting last in team battles. I clean up pretty well.” She takes a few breaths and wipes her nose with her shirt.

“Very…well…we will make…our way back…to the suite…Our first event…comes next…”

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