YAY! Another chapter!

Brought to you courtesy of Skittles' Math homework time!

"We'll get it done! EVENTUALLY!"

These battles sure do take a while. Although, I like when I keep them in one chapter as opposed to spreading them out over two. Makes these worlds seem a lot shorter :D

I do need to get my online course done, though. Then it will stop getting in my way when I want to write.

I might even start CSI: Hyrule back up again. God knows how long some people have been waiting for that one.

But I'm straying away from the point.

Enjoy!

Sukotto and Meari watched as another match finished. The two combatants were escorted off the arena to the cheers and jeers of the audience. Saimon, who had left to prepare for his fight, was probably behind one of those iron doors right now.

"You think they're ever gonna start this next round?" Meari yawned, restless in her seat. "I've been sitting up here all day! The fighting's been fun to watch and all, but c'mon! I wanna stretch my legs a bit!"

Sukotto laughed nervously. "Trust me, I'd rather be up here than down there. It's not as fun as it is to watch. I was a bundle of nerves."

"Right. We definitely couldn't see that from up here." She laughed. "I hope Sai-kun's not too nervous. What do you think?"

Sukotto nodded. "Well, I mean, come on. He's about to risk his life in here. Not to mention serious injury. And the sand is so fine, I wouldn't be surprised if he caught an infection from an open wound. That's not even taking into account-"

"OKAY OKAY OKAY! It's dangerous! Thanks for sharing!" Meari hit Sukotto's head with considerable force. "Don't go making me get worried!"

Sukotto groaned. "Well, I don't like it either! It's the truth, though." He folded his arms and looked on to the iron doors below him. "I just hope he's not too worked up."

---

"Gngh. Huh? Wah?" Saimon awoke from his nap behind the gates. "Oh, time to go already?"

You are not nervous, Saimon-san?

"Huh?" He looked down to the hilts of his trusted swords. "Nah. Not really. I've been through worse."

You are a brave human, Saimon-san.

"I don't know about that. I have you guys. So I'm not nervous. You've never let me down before." He clenched his fist, testing out his body for any sore spots. "Besides, since I walked in this arena, I've been feeling pretty good." He did a few side stretched to illustrate the point.

I, as well. This place certainly has a strengthening aura about it.

"But, the thing is, no one else feels anything. I talked to Meari-chan back in Sukotto-kun's match, and she didn't feel squat." He scratched his head. "Are we imagining things?"

I do not believe so. I feel it is in our best interest to use this strength to our advantage.

"Which reminds me; I have the two swords, but it's always you who's talking to me. Which are you, Ryuukiba or Hebishippo?"

I am neither, but I am both, as well.

"Great. A riddle." Saimon sighed.

Worry not, young one. It will become clear.

"Good. Riddles aren't my strong point." He stared ahead as the iron gates creaked open. "Okay, let's go."
With that, he pulled his dog mask on, walked out into the arena and drew his blades. His opponent was already awaiting him in the centre.

"Good luck to you, I wish." A short man with a squeaky high-pitched voice greeted him. He was dressed in red and white motley, and looked much like a medieval jester. Upon his face, a butterfly mask stood out in beautiful contrast to his unflattering attire.

"Yeah, you too. I guess." Saimon bent his knees as the announcer signaled the beginning of the match.

"Point in waiting, there is none." The jester raised his right hand, which was beginning to collect a ball of shadowy energy, A spell circle appeared beneath him, and Saimon felt the air around him crackling with magic.

Saimon-san, I fear the worst! This fool has a wicked air about him!

"Yeah, tell me about it!" Saimon ran at the man, Ryuukiba drawing back to attack. "Hold that thought, Clown Boy!"

"Too late, it is!" With a crack, the mage (as Saimon had gauged) brought down his hand. A flash of light appeared, and the jester was suddenly not alone.

"Now you face us both!" A second jester, this one sporting blue motley and a moth mask stood beside the first.

"Wait, what? But…HEY!" Before Saimon could slow his advance, the new challenger sent a shot of ice magic at him. The impact knocked Saimon back a bit, but he was mostly unharmed.

"THAT WAS COLD!" Saimon screamed as he shook the feeling back into his fingers.

"One moment!" The announcer's voice echoed over the arena. "This new fighter is not a Djinni! The fight is now two against one, and this is in direct violation of the tournament rules!"

"We know that!"

"That, we know!" The two jesters cried in unison. "A plan, we have!" With that, the two jesters raised their hands together. This time, however, Saimon's efforts to stop them could not even be started; their casting time had reduced drastically.

Two separate beams of light shot into the air; one red hot, the other icy blue. The two met at the top of the arena, and began to spread down and around, as though covering an invisible dome. Quickly, the entire arena was cut off from the spectators and judges alike, a layer of lava and ice fusing into hard molten rock. Saimon was sealed in.

"Now you have no hope for escape!"

"Your swords, we will take!"

"My swords?!" Saimon tightened his grip on the hilts of his weapons. "What do you want them for?!"

The red jester laughed a horrible high-pitched squeal. "Ready, Zorn?"

"Zorn's ready! Are you ready, Thorn?"

"Ready, Thorn is!"

Saimon rolled his eyes. "That's getting old pretty fast. You guys remind me of some other people I know." He frowned. And they're hard as hell to beat. Damn it…

Zorn began to glow. Blue aura was being absorbed from the air around him. At the same instant, Saimon felt the air around him begin to get slightly warmer. He's absorbing the cold?!

Saimon-san, be wary! His magic strength is increasing. In another minute, he will have reached the level of a Lightning Blade!

"Shit. Definitely not good!" Saimon looked to the other mage, who was not glowing, but rather standing in front of his opposite. "I guess he's going to protect that Zorn guy."

We have no choice. We must remove the red one before we can stop the blue fool.

"Right." Saimon rushed forward. "Okay, then! You're the first one to go!" He brought up Hebishippo.

"Not, I think! Fire!" Thorn shot a fireball from his hand. But Saimon was ready for this one.

"Hebishippo! Defend!" The aura that now surrounded Saimon caught the fireball with ease and smothered it. "Fly!" The aura recollected in Saimon's arms, and shot out as a blue chain. It caught Thorn in a strong grasp.

"Ever flown before?" Saimon easily swung the fool's weight into the air. He released, sending the red projectile slamming into the rock wall above them. "Because, I'll tell you, that motion sickness is torture!"

Saimon turned towards Zorn with Ryuukiba at the ready. As he charged into striking distance, Zorn backstepped from his reach, his casting abruptly stopping. The air around Saimon cooled once more.

"Great. Now go join your brother… or twin… or whatever the hell kind of freak he is!" Saimon raised Hebishippo and-

Wait… why can I see my breath? Saimon stopped, steam escaping in small huffs from his mouth. Oh shit, it's getting cold in here… Which means…

He turned too late. Thorn was standing at the edge of the rock wall, a giant meteor floating above him.

"Meteor!" The spell shot towards Saimon, its searing heat overwhelming Saimon. It hit its target dead on, sending him crashing through the far wall. Second-degree burns covered his arms, and the smell of burning flesh filled his nostrils.

"Sh-shit." He slumped against the ground. "That… was not good."

I'm here, young one.

Strength began to seep from the swords into Saimon's body. He slowly got to his feet. He lightly tapped his arms with a finger. A fresh wave of stinging pain assaulted his nerves. He choked down a cry. "They're messed up bad… But I can keep going."

The air! It's growing hot! Watch out!

Saimon looked up. At the opposite end of the arena, Zorn was preparing his ice spell once again. Damn. Thorn burnt me so bad, I can't even feel the air temperature! How long has he been charging that attack?!

Zorn laughed loudly. "You cannot dodge this!" He sucked in a deep breath. "ICY MIST!" Exhaling, a gust of freezing wind rushed at Saimon.

"Defend!" The gust met with Saimon's aura shield. Saimon concentrated all his defenses in front of him, but it fought with the might of an avalanche. His extremities went numb, and he shivered violently against the snow and ice that had accumulated on his person.

The onslaught ended, and Saimon collapsed. "Damn it… damn it…" As he looked down, he saw that his feet were frozen into the ground. "I need to get out of this, fast."

"Pay attention, you should!"

"Your time is up!"

Saimon looked on either side of him. Both jesters were beginning to charge their magic once again. There would be no surviving either one of those attacks; Saimon needed a plan, and fast.

I could break this ice off easy enough. But which one do I interrupt? I can't stop both!

Yes, you can, Saimon-san!

They're too far apart! Sure, I could hit one easily, but the second strike is too fast and unpredictable! I'd miss for sure!

Think, young one! They are not absorbing simply heat and cold! It is the mana that they are taking in!

Saimon stopped for a moment. What's the air like right now?

It is neither hot nor cold.

Saimon's eyes widened. Because they're both absorbing equal amounts of mana, the air temperature is staying the same. Their range is at least as large as the arena, otherwise I wouldn't have felt it when Thorn used Meteor that first time.

He looked at the two jesters on either side. Yeah, I think I've got something figured out.

"Okay!" Here we go!" Saimon slammed Hebishippo into the ice below him. It shattered, breaking his numb legs free. "Ryuukiba! Hebishippo! Help me move!" He had a curious feeling of warmth in his legs, which began to move on their own. He ran to the centre of the arena, directly in between the two jesters.

"Too late, it is!"

"It is too late!"

"We'll see!" Saimon brought Ryuukiba and Hebishippo forward, focusing on the small blue figure in front of him. "Ryuukiba! Be as lightning, striking fast and without warning!" Saimon felt a powerful sensation ripple throughout his body as he began to glow. His light rivalling that of the two jesters on either side, he finished the incantation. "Hebishippo! Be as thunder, striking after lightning with your might!" The telltale sparks flew off his body as the glow was pushed into his legs and swords.

"ICY MIST!"

"STORM CANNON!"

In a flash, Zorn was thrown against the wall behind him. Once his casting had ended, the temperature of the arena dropped instantly. Saimon spun on his heel and brought up Hebishippo.

"METE-" Lightning dropped suddenly from the rock dome around the arena. Thorn was briefly illuminated in its light, and then dropped to the ground in a smoking mess.

Saimon stood up, panting heavily. "You were drawing your power from that rock dome the entire time, weren't you? You pumped that thing so full of mana, your attacks wouldn't require you to draw it in from far-away distances. That's why the air temperature would change so drastically when you used an attack."

Zorn twitched weakly from the wall behind Saimon "You… how?"

"I shot the dome with my own mana. Since both of you were drawing the same amount at the same time, it wasn't moving very fast. But, when Zorn stopped casting, most of the energy shifted towards Thorn, which is why my lightning was able to move so fast."

Thorn gave a quiet squeal. "Beat us, he did. Now, what will we do?"

Zorn got awkwardly to his feet. "We still have much more mana left in the dome! It will only take a second to-"

"Yeah, about that."

At that moment, with a sickening crack, the rock dome around the combatants shattered into a million small boulders.

"There you have it." Extending Ryuukiba's shield on top of him, he waved to the two. "I hope you survive. I want to know why you wanted Ryuukiba and Hebishippo, and it's hard for dead people to talk."

---

I don't think Saimon-kun is reading this. If he was, he would NOT be too happy with how many times I've beaten him to near death.

Haha. It's probably better that way. He's the only reckless friend I have, sadly, so I doubt much will change in future chapters.

But HEY! 50 chapters! I hear that's a big thing!

YAY! What did you all get me? I hope nothing too expensive!

XD Screw my fantasies.

Happy Reading!