Chapter 1: The Challenger

It was a quite peaceful day, by anyone's standards. The heroes (and the two heroines) of this story were at home. Two of them (meaning Artemis and Holly) were absorbed in their books; three others (meaning Butler, Trouble, and Juliet) were sharpening their fighting skills. One of them was buried in a fridge (guess who), and two others (meaning Foaly and No1) were discussing the differences of magic and tech with each other.

Then the letters came, and everything changed. Everyone had their own reactions: Artemis simply raised his eyebrows in suspicion, Holly skimmed over it twice to make sure she was reading it right, Butler gave his punching bag a backhanded slap it won't soon forget, Juliet screamed "Cool!", Trouble squinted at it as if it were written in an alien language, Mulch belched the words on the letter aloud, and Foaly and No1 looked at each other, confused.

(Just so no one else gets confused, I'll put up a copy of the letters right here:

Dear (name):

You have been chosen as a contender in the game show: The Challenger! You and seven other contestants will compete for the gold on live television in a series of eleven trials. Failure to complete these trials will result in your own expulsion from the game. Good luck!

Your friend:

The Challenger)

The Challenger was a brand new game show airing in Haven for the first time. The start of the show's first episode was in two days. Artemis, Butler, and Juliet had to be picked up in a shuttle and taken down to Haven for the event.

Pretty soon, the eight of them were standing on a circular platform that was going to be raised onto the stage. Motions of the people on the platform included nervous (and excited) shuffling, anxious shaking, the rapid movement of panicky eyeballs, and (highly exaggerated) eighty-foot jumps when someone was accidentally brushed against.

After a minute or two, the contestants rose into a small arena. The stands were packed with a live audience of elves, dwarves, goblins, demons, and pixies. The crowd cheered wildly when the contenders appeared. Every once and a while, some guy would bay for Butler's blood.

No1 shuffled a little closer to Holly. "Why are these people baying for blood? We're not going to get killed or anything, are we?" he asked, looking at the captain for support.

"Of course not," Holly said, smiling at him. I hope, she thought helplessly. No1 sensed his friend's fear and laid his hand on her shoulder.

An odd-looking elf stepped forward. He had slicked-back black hair (like Artemis's), orange eyes (like No1's), and a dangerous look to him (like Butler).

"What do you want?" Trouble shouted, speaking for the first time since his arrival.

"Why," the elf said smoothly, "I am the Challenger, of course. I'm here to give you your first challenge."

To be continued…

This is a bit awkward. Sorry about the shortness of the chapter, I wasn't too sure where to go with this. Besides, this was more of an intro than anything else. Oh well, see you next time!