The rain crashed down against the top of Frost’s head, matting down his normally out of control hair, pressing the locks against his skull. He glared across the short distance separating him and the Black Priest, wondering what skills the man had that made him willing to stand up against someone with a Mystic Blade. The warrior certainly had an impressive stash of weaponry attached to him, but weapons alone weren’t going to be enough for the priest to stand against the might of the Arctic Blade – especially not when it was Frost wielding it. The fool grinned; then again, no one really stood a chance against him.
“Ready whenever you are, dark and gloomy!” Frost yelled over, trying to provoke the man into action. The grizzled warrior simply remained where he was though, glaring back.
“It’s only right to give you first strike.” The priest hollered back. “It might be the only one you get.”
Frost scoffed, laughing a bit to himself as he eyed his opponent up and down. The priest still held those two oddly curved weapons in his hands – twins of each other, by all appearances. The tools looked reminiscent of hook swords, though they were distinctly shorter – more like hook knives. Frost had definitely never seen anything quite like them, but they didn’t seem to be very dangerous – at least not when the priest was standing a good twenty feet away from him.
The arctic warrior sighed, reaching up to scratch his head a moment as he continued to stare at the man. It was becoming fairly obvious the priest was waiting for him to make the first move – probably planning to act in the moment Frost tried to rush in. If that was the case…
“Alright, have it your way!”
Frost grinned, lifting his blade above his head before swinging it straight down in front of him. As the sword sliced through the air, an arc or shimmering, white, icy energy flew out, cutting through the rain as it shot toward the priest.
The Black Priest didn’t let a single emotion crack the stony look plastered to his face as the arctic magic slashed toward him. As it swam through the rain, the priest could see the droplets of water instantly freeze and fall to the earth as balls of ice. He might have guessed by the oaf’s name that the boy commanded the chilling blade of ice, but it was nice to confirm it.
The grizzled warrior slid to the side as the icy arc approached, holding out his hook knife as the shining white semi-circle grew near. When the frigid crescent struck the blade, though, the weapon did not freeze. Instead, the shimmering curve of magic was dragged to a halt, caught in the bent portion of the priest’s weapon. Without allowing his opponent a moment to react, the warrior shifted his weight forward, swinging the blade in his hand back toward the arctic warrior, and sending the icy magic flying back toward its source.
Frost gasped, eyes widening slightly as his power swung back at him like a boomerang, spinning through the air as it shifted direction. Surprised as he was, though, the arctic warrior was far from worried. He raised his own blade back up, holding it parallel before him, allowing the translucent weapon to catch and reabsorb its own power.
“I hope that wasn’t the extent of your abilities,” The Black Priest taunted, face still stern as he watched the fool, “for your own sake…”
“Hardly.” Frost shouted back, wearing a cocky grin as he replied. “I was barely even pretending to try!”
The faire-haired boy hefted his weapon again, eyeing the strange hooked blade that had caught his magic. He needed to make sure the incident wasn’t just a fluke. Raising his sword, Frost swung out again, horizontally this time, creating another icy arc aimed for the priest. In response, the hardened warrior took a quick step forward before flipping into the air, spinning over the cold crescent. As he did, he held his hooked blades out, catching the icy energy with them once more. Landing, the priest flung the magic over his head, and once again back toward the ice child.
Frost scoffed, growing slightly annoyed as he was forced to raise his sword and defend against his own power once more. It looked like those weapons were a little more useful than he had first thought. But it was of little concern – the priest couldn’t continue like that forever.
“Alright, then,” Frost sneered, pulling his blade back, “Try this one!”
The arctic warrior swung out horizontally, once more creating his chilling curve as he slashed, but didn’t stop there. The boy lifted the blade immediately upon finishing the initial swing, hefting the sword above his head, and slashed downward, creating another icy arc. The arctic warrior paused, eyes focused on the target of his magic.
The Black Priest grinned – the child didn’t seem to learn very quickly. Rushing forward, the grizzled warrior leapt up, arms and the weapons they gripped trailing behind him as he easily cleared the cross of icy magic headed his way. As he threw his feet back toward the ground, the hooks of the short blades he was wielding latched into the shimmering arcs of white energy, catching them once more. With a grin, and a grunt, the hardened judge swung his arms forward, gifting the icy arches with a powerful spin as he flung them back threw the air at their source.
Frost glared at the returning crescents, wishing they’d just strike their targets for once. He took a step forward, swinging his blade at the approaching chilling magic, allowing his sword to reabsorb the energy once again. As he did, though, an unexpected surprise awaited him behind the shimmering gleams of white.
The Black Priest swung out, slashing with the hook knife in his hand as he spied the shocked expression coating the fool’s face. The boy must not have expected him to be fast enough to trail just behind the slashes of magical energy – a foolish assumption. The boy still did manage to raise his blade in time to block though. The grizzled priest would have to concede that the boy’s reflexes weren’t lacking, even if his mental aptitude seemed to be.
“Pretty spry for an old guy, aren’t ya?” Frost taunted, pushing the priest’s weapon away as he thrust his sword forward.
“Compared to a dotard such as yourself, that might be true.” The Black Priest replied, quickly swinging his second hook up, wrapping its curve around the fool’s blade and tugging it off course, harmlessly to his side. He wasted no time, stepping even closer as he swung his first weapon back toward the boy’s neck.
Frost grimaced, eyeing the approaching blade. The arctic warrior quickly retracted his sword, freeing it from the man’s clutches as he also ducked down, swinging his head low to avoid the oncoming strike. As he raised his eyes back up, though, his focus was already on the priest’s second weapon as it swung toward his kidney from the opposite side. Gritting his teeth, the ice child pushed his sword over, intercepting the attack and halting the blade. The instant he did, though, the judge was already swinging at his shoulder with the first weapon yet again.
“No fair!” Frost shouted, pushing away one of the Black Priest’s weapons as he swung his blade to try and intercept the other. “You’re cheating!”
“All’s fair in love and war, boy!” The priest shouted back, continuing his assault, allowing the warrior of the Ice Realm barely a second to breathe, let alone counter attack.
“I’m flattered and all,” the white-haired teen replied, swinging down to intercept another assault, “but I’m just not into you like that!”
“Keep cracking wise, child.” The Black Priest cracked a grin as he quickly thrust in, spying the opening he had been waiting for. “See where it gets you!”
Frost let out a scream as one of the priest’s hook knives pierced into his side. The grizzled warrior quickly twisted the weapon, allowing the curve of the tool to stab back out, clutching tightly at a large chunk of the boy’s flesh. The arctic warrior turned an eye down to the wound, a trace of anger burning within him for only a moment. But he couldn’t afford to give into that rage – not against a guy like this.
The Arctican raised his gaze back to his opponent, watching as the man lifted his other knife, moving to swing it down at his shoulder. If this bastard was going to use two knives, then he’d double up on his own. Clenching his teeth, preparing for the pain he was about to inflict upon himself, Frost summoned up his sword’s power. As he did, the boy pulled a hand from his blade’s handle, and with it he yanked free a replica of the weapon crafted entirely from ice. The arctic child swung the fake toward the hook in his side while raising the real one upward to block the approaching strike. As his ice sword crashed into the knife in his side, it forced the blade to tear through his flesh, creating a large gash in his torso that quickly began to overflow with his life fluid.
Spinning, Frost lifted a leg, kicking at the Black Priest’s chest. While the strike failed to connect, it had the desired effect as the grizzled warrior leapt back, giving the arctic warrior some space and a moment to work. The white-haired fool quickly lowered the real Arctic Blade, pressing its tip against the wound. Instantly, the pain of the wound was numbed by the chill of the blade, and almost as quickly, the bleeding halted as a sheet of red ice covered the gash.
“Can’t take my eye off of you.” Frost spoke, turning back around, already shaking off the gravity of the situation. “You’re a crafty old coot.”
The Black Priest narrowed his eyes, growing annoyed of the child’s lighthearted response to his attacks. He lowered his eyes, spying the tear in the boy’s flesh beneath the coat of red ice. There was no way the fool hadn’t felt that one – even with the ice, he had to still be feeling it. Yet the child was cracking jokes at him.
“You’re antics have already earned you one wound,” The Black Priest spoke, spinning the hook blades in his hands around, returning them to their sheath, “You’d think you’d learn from that mistake.”
“What can I say?” Frost shrugged, showing no indication his wound pained him. “I’m a slow learner.”
“Well I’m a good teacher, child.” The priest responded, pulling from his back a pair of matching long swords. “I’ll make sure you understand by the time our bout is through.”
“Don’t make time-consuming promises.” Frost grinned, lifting his swords up as he spied the twin blades the priest now held. “You might not have that much time left, grandpa.”
The Black Priest rushed forward, swinging out with his blades. Frost quickly raised his own, parrying the attacks before countering with his own slashes. The pair clashed, their swords sounding off as they clanged together, swing after swing deflected and redirected, parried and countered.
“So we’re really going to just stand here?”
Ivy stepped forward to the edge of the inn’s porch, watching as the two warriors faced off. The tomboy spun a head back, looking to her two fellow spectators.
“If we all attack—“
“It’s not that simple.” Flare frowned, shaking his head as he watched Frost duck beneath one of the Black Priest’s swings, returning with a slash of his own. Seeing the boy fight, Flare was beginning to understand the fool’s motivation in this battle.
“You’re probably right – four on one, I’d be surprised if he could last long.” Flare added, turning his gaze to the green haired girl. “But this actually isn’t about winning to Frost.”
“I don’t understand.” Ivy shook her head, turning to look at her fellow female. “Myst! You agree, right?”
“I definitely think Frost is being ridiculous, deciding to fight all on his own.” Myst nodded, frowning as well. “But Flare’s right… this isn’t about winning to Frost.”
“What the hell is it about then!?” Ivy screamed, growing frustrated with her companions.
“It’s about learning.” The redhead replied, taking a step forward to join Ivy on the edge of the deck. “Frost wants to achieve what you already did – he wants to hear his blade’s voice. That’s why he’s pitting himself against such a powerful opponent, alone.”
“That’s… idiotic!” Ivy screamed, furiously, turning back to glare at the fool.
“That’s Frost…” Flare replied, turning his focus back to the battle as well.
The Black Priest slashed once more, his attack being knocked away yet again as the arctic warrior continued to parry and counter. Now that they were evenly armed, the boy was less of a pushover. The grizzled judge had to give the child credit yet again – learning to so skillfully handle two swords so quickly was no easy task. But it wouldn’t be enough against him – especially in the torrent that fell upon them and on the flooded landscape on which they fought.
The priest lowered his gaze to the arctic warrior’s foot, eyeing at the water it splashed down on. It was time to start instructing the oaf – starting with that foot. The Black Priest lifted one finger from the handle of his swords, twirling it once in the air.
Frost cried out as pain shot through his foot, gripping the extremity from nowhere. The fool’s eyes darted to each of the priest’s weapons, trying to determine which of them had inflicted the agony, but found neither of them anywhere near his foot. He quickly spun his gaze down, eyeing the bloody hole that sat at its center, trying to find the cause of his suffering. But there was nothing there.
The arctic warrior lifted his eyes back up, staring into the eyes of the grizzled judge, spying the nearly imperceptible grin he wore. There was no doubt it had been him, but… Frost paused, eyes darting to one of the man’s fingers as it twirled in the air briefly. The next instant the ice child felt the same sharp sensation in his other foot and quickly lowered his eyes to the pain. A gasped escaped his throat as he stared down at a thin spear of water sticking up through the arch of his foot.
“Water!?” Frost screamed as the spear fell away, splashing against his boots. His eyes darted upward, glaring at the priest as the man swung out toward him. Gritting his teeth, Frost leapt backward, agony shooting through both his feet as he landed out of the man’s range. The grizzled warrior wasn’t giving him time to rest, though.
As Frost landed, he eyed the familiar twirl of the judge’s finger. Normally, like he had said earlier, he was a slow learner. But pain was a good motivator. He quickly pushed off the ground, barely avoiding getting skewered once more as a needle of water rose up from the ground. The arctic warrior scoffed, raising his eyes back toward the priest as he landed again, once more spying the twirling motion of the man’s finger. He wasted no time, leaping away again. But he couldn’t keep that up forever.
Frost landed, receiving a bolt of pain through his legs as he did. He had to deal with the wounds on his feet, and he had to get out of range of the man’s attacks. He leapt away again, trying to avoid the skewers of water the priest was making. With the rain pelting the ground for miles, and the already drenched nature of the realm, though, getting out of range of water wasn’t an easy task. If only he could…
A grin tugged at Frost’s lips as he leapt away again. Of course, it was so simple. He hefted his Arctic Blade – the real one – as he leapt into the air once more. If the man was going to use water to attack, he’d just take the water away.
Frost swung his sword at the ground, releasing an arctic blast of magic from his sword. As the shimmering white energy crashed into the earth, the water around instantly began to freeze. The sheet of frozen crystal spread quickly, coating the earth, hardening the water in every direction. As Frost crashed back to the ground, breathing hard, ice had covered the earth in every direction for at least a hundred feet.
“Careful, old man,” Frost called out as the priest landed on the ice as well, sliding a moment after jumping to avoid being frozen in place, “Wouldn’t want you to fall and break a hip.”
The Black Priest sneered, glaring down at the sheet of frozen water beneath him. The boy had taken away part of his arsenal. But, luckily for the grizzled judge, in that realm, his arsenal was quickly replenished, and never-ending. The judge raised his eyes to the sky, watching as the rain continued to fall.
“Still fooling around?” The Black Priest questioned, lowering his gaze back to the oaf.
“What can I say?” Frost shrugged, grinning confidently. “I’m only serious when there’s a need to be.”
“Oh, really?” The judge sheathed one of his blades momentarily, raising the then free hand up into the air, pointing at the drab sky above them. “I’m interested to see that. Let’s see if we can’t dispel this levity you carry.”
Frost cocked an eyebrow, staring across the short distance separating him and his opponent, eyes focused on the single finger the man stretched toward the sky. He didn’t like the looks of this – that finger had been enough to make the field of water a garden of knives. Before Frost had much time to worry about what kind of trick that finger might have, though, it revealed its hand. The artic warrior grunted as something sliced his cheek, leaving a shallow cut in his skin. The fool reached a hand up, covering the new wound, trying to catch whatever had already caught him… but nothing was there. Confused and uncertain, the ice child was unprepared as another slice struck his arm, cutting a bit deeper.
“The hell!?” Frost shouted, staring down at the narrow gash before, an instant later, another cut made itself known along his back. It was with the third slice that the arctic child realized each attack had slashed downward. He raised his eyes, glaring at the judge’s finger as it pointed toward the sky.
“Crap!” Frost shouted, quickly lifting his blade up above his head. A moment later, an umbrella of ice cascaded out from the tip of the sword – and not a moment to soon as the rain around him suddenly picked up, tearing at the edges of the umbrella in his hand.
“Ah, you figured it out too quickly.” The Black Priest lowered his finger, but the razor sharp rain around the arctic warrior continued. “I wasn’t sure if a dolt like you would be able to piece it together before my rain tore you apart.”
“Sorry to disappoint.” Frost sneered, turning an eye up to his icy umbrella. It was taking a constant stream of magic to prevent the rain around him from slicing through the otherwise thin sheet of ice acting as his protection.
“No matter. I’ll just do it myself.”
The Black Priest rushed forward, quickly closing the gap between him and the boy. As he swung out with his already armed hand, his free hand quickly found its way back toward the blade he had just sheathed, freeing it once again. The arctic warrior quickly blocked the first slash with his blade replicated from ice, but had little choice with what to do as the second sword slashed out toward him.
Frost grunted, dodging back, barely avoiding the quick slice of the priest’s second blade as it flew towards him, renewed pain bolting through his feet. He turned his eyes to the Arctic Blade, following the blade to its tip where the umbrella protecting him formed. He was suddenly down to only one weapon yet again with that one stuck on permanent defense thanks to the Black Priest’s strange precipitation.
The ice child ducked and dodged, raising his ice blade when needed to repel attacks as he attempted to distance himself from the priest. He eyed the judge enviously, wondering how the man was managing to not fall victim to his own dagger-like rain. Despite the razor edge each drop that hit his shield or him had, they all seemed to fall harmlessly upon the grizzled warrior assaulting him. If only the rain were on his side.
A flash of inspiration struck Frost as the thought popped into his head. He dodged another strike, trying to look at the clouds above him. The priest had managed to turn the water to lethal daggers, but the Arctican was familiar with a form of precipitation that was just as dangerous.
“Impressive!” Frost shouted suddenly as he struggled to dodge the swings and slashes of the Black Priest. “But let me show you something you probably haven’t seen – even in your thousands of years on this world!”
Frost spun away, throwing a kick out at the priest attempting to dice him, receiving a few cuts on his legs as the limb left the protection of his icy umbrella. The pain was worth it, though, as it gave the Arctican a moment of peace as the Black Priest was forced to move back to avoid the strike. A bubble of relief now around him, Frost thrust his blade into the air, causing a massive pulse of white energy to erupt from the tip of the sword, hurtling toward the sky. Frost wasted no time as it left his weapon, spinning around as walls of ice grew about him. The white-haired teen kneeled down, allowing himself to be encased in a thick dome of frozen water.
“Hiding!?” The Black Priest shouted, rushing forward. The grizzled warrior thrust his sword at the dome, but met an unexpectedly strong resistance as the metal blade bent then slide away, crashing to the ground. The judge gasped, staring at the surprisingly strong dome as a small speck of ice came down, bouncing weakly off its surface.
“What’s this…?” The Black Priest blinked, staring as another piece of ice – slightly larger – hit on the ground nearby. Another moment passed, and still more tiny balls of ice were clattering down around him. As the grizzled judge spun about, he began to realize the rain had all but stopped, being replaced by these frozen chunks of water that were beginning to grow bigger and bigger – and they were starting to hurt as they crashed into his head and back.
The Black Priest raised his arms up above his head, trying to protect it from the onslaught of ice from above, turning to stare at the icy dome the arctic warrior had created for himself. The frigid structure stood strong against the hail, the balls of ice bouncing away harmlessly as they struck it. This became even more impressive as the largest chunk so far – appearing to be roughly the size of the priest’s fist – crashed to the ground nearby, shattering the layer of ice, and causing the ground beneath to explode upward from the impact.
The grizzled judge gasped, turning his eyes skyward, noticing more of the massive blocks of ice headed toward him. Covering himself with his arms wouldn’t be enough – as one approached, the priest swung out, smashing the hunk of ice to pieces with his sword as he quickly dodged another.
Frost stared through the wall of his protective structure, eyeing the blurred form of the Black Priest as the man ducked and dodged, swinging his blades to deter the giant pieces of hail. He was sure the grizzled warrior wouldn’t be able to keep that up for long, but he also knew this hail storm wouldn’t last forever, either. He turned his focus back down, finishing the cast of ice on both his feet. The frigid cold numbed away the pain of the holes in his feet, while the layers of ice seemed to be stopping his bleeding, just like in the wound in his side. Truth be told, though, he had never planned on getting as injured as he was. While the ice was working for now, it would only be a matter of time before the crystal casts would force hypothermia to set in. He couldn’t continue to stand around and play with this old guy forever – he had to come up with something.
“Okay, sword,” Frost held the Arctic Blade up in front of him, staring at the translucent saber that grew from its hilt, “if there was ever a time for you to help me out, I think it’d be now.”
The fool was silent a moment, straining his ears to hear something – anything – that might be his blade communicating with him. But nothing came.
“I’m serious, sword.” Frost continued, shaking the blade slightly. “I’ll deny it if you tell anyone I said this, but… I think this guy might beat me without a little bit of help. I mean… I haven’t even managed to touch him yet!”
The crystalline weapon sat silent still. The arctic warrior sighed, letting the tip of the sword fall down, clanking against the ice beneath him.
“I don’t get it… Ivy’s sword helped her!” Frost yelled, not really at his blade or anyone in particular. “It responded when she needed it, right? So… why?”
The ice child lowered his eyes back to the weapon in his hands, sighing as he stared at the surface. Inwardly, he wondered if maybe… the sword was mad at him?
“I know…” Frost began, then paused. It was true he was a little strange at times, but even he had to stop himself as he realized he was about to apologize to an inanimate object. He lifted his head, glancing out through the icy dome, as if to check that no one was close enough to hear him.
“I know,” Frost continued, turning his eyes back to the blade, “that I’ve kind of ignored you, or probably have… And for that, I’m sorry.”
“It wasn’t as if I was trying to ignore you, though.” The arctic warrior tried to explain, sighing. “I didn’t even know you were there – so I didn’t know I was supposed to be trying to listen to you. It’s not really an excuse, I guess… since Flare and Myst still heard their blades, but… well, I’m sorry if you tried to give me advice before, and I didn’t hear it. But I promise, if you help me out now – if you try to talk to me now – then I’ll listen. And then I’ll know what to listen for! And I won’t ignore you again! So… please?”
The crazy fool stared down at the ice-like blade, waiting for a response as the tip of the weapon rested gently against the frozen floor. He didn’t have anything else to say, here. If an apology wasn’t going to be enough – if pleading wouldn’t be enough – then Frost would have to go it on his own. But… he didn’t want to.
The ice child lifted his gaze, staring through the blurring wall of his dome at the foggy image of the inn, trying to spot Flare somewhere up there. It might not have seemed all that impressive – what the boy had accomplished on his own against the Senrty – until you understood the disadvantage he had been fighting with. The Sentry held the power to douse the redhead’s powers nearly entirely, and yet… Flare had stood up to that beast, even had him on the run with a tiny bit of help. Frost couldn’t help but believe that stemmed from the fact that the flamehead had a relationship with his Mystic Blade. And if they were going to have any sort of chance on this journey, Frost would need that same kind of relationship with his own.
The boy turned his eyes back down to the crystal sword, taking in a deep breath as he stared at its translucent surface.
“Please.” Frost repeated, his tone completely serious as he spoke. “If you won’t help me simply for my benefit, then… do it for theirs”
Frost turned, looking toward the inn once more.
“Not just for moss hair, and flamehead, though.” Frost stated, turning back to his sword. “And not just for the wet blanket, either. But for all the people of this realm. And all the realms. If we’re going to make it through this suicide mission alive, I’m going to need at least a little bit of help from you. So… again… Please.”
A moment passed – a short moment where Frost sighed, suddenly unsure of his ability with the blade in his hands. But then, the sword reacted. A noticeable glimmer ran up the length of the sword, from hilt to tip. As it reached the end of the blade, the sword sank into the ice on its own. Frost tilted his head to the side, watching as an inch or so of the sword penetrated the icy ground. Outside the dome, the boy could see the giant form of his weapon poking its head up through the ice as well, at the same angle his sword was entering it.
“That’s all you’ve got?” Frost frowned, staring at the tip of the protruding ice blade. “I already knew that.”
Frost sighed, moving to pull the blade back out. The sword refused to budge, though, as he pulled straight back, keeping itself merged into the icy sheet below.
“The hell, sword!?” Frost yelled, tugging straight back on the weapon with all his might, not able to make it move even an inch. “Stop playing around!”
The arctic warrior struggled to pull the sword out, but the blade refused to budge. Growling, Frost gripped the blade with both hands, jiggling the weapon. As he did, he noticed something he hadn’t before. The ice child turned his eyes to the giant form of his blade outside the dome, watching as the tip moved back and forth as he shook his weapon. A grin tugged at the corner’s of the boy’s mouth as he watched the icy edge shake as he shook his sword.
“I can move it…” He thought aloud to himself. “I can move the giant form.”
The arctic warrior lifted his grin up, staring out at the Black Priest as the man knocked away another piece of hail. The falling ice had slowed – nearly stopped. Frost couldn’t have hoped for better timing.
The Black Priest slashed at one of the last pieces of ice falling from on high, knocking the chunk away as he stared up at the sky. Though dark clouds still hung overhead, they were no longer dumping their contents to the world below. The hailstorm the arctic child had created was gone, and the rain that had preceded it was no longer either, leaving an odd period of no precipitation in the area. The grizzled warrior frowned, lowering his eyes to the boy’s icy dome. With the storm calmed, he could no longer summon his Rain of Daggers. He wondered if the oaf inside the ice casing had planned for this – had somehow known his ice storm would end the rain as well. But he doubted it.
“Sorry to keep you waiting!”
The Black Priest steeled his gaze as the ice child’s voice rang out. In response, the icy dome protecting the teenager shattered, crumbling to the ground as the arctic warrior returned to his feet.
“I know how precious an old man’s remaining time can be,” Frost grinned, resting the edge of his blade on his shoulder as he turned to face the Black Priest. “So I hope you’ll forgive me for wasting so much of your final moments.”
“Are you threatening me, child?” The Black Priest inquired, glaring at the boy. “You haven’t even managed to touch me yet. Threatening to end me—“
“No, no.” The arctic warrior interrupted, shaking his head. “No threat. I just know someone as old as you can’t possibly have much time left.”
“You seem to like to crack jokes about my age.” The Black Priest held up both swords, eyeing the boy wrathfully. “But I see my age as an advantage against a pup like you. I have at least two decades more experience than you do at this.”
“Experience is overrated.” Frost replied, waving away the idea. “What’s really important is skill and power.”
“You may be right, boy.” The priest replied, shifting his weight slightly. “Let me show you, then, the extent of my experience has increased my skill and power.”
The Black Priest dashed forward, bursting across the ice as he aimed to close the distance with the child. Without the rain or the water on the ground, he’d have to make this a close-distance match if he wanted to keep the odds tilted in his favor. As he rushed forward, though, the arctic child was quick to respond, swinging his blade down from his shoulder, and shoving it straight into the ice at his feet. The grizzled warrior barely had time to react as a giant version of the warrior’s crystalline blade thrust up from the ice in front of him, nearly skewering him as he slid to a stop inches from it.
“Nice try,” The Black Priest shouted as he quickly spun to the side of the giant blade of ice, continuing his dash toward the fool, “but you missed.”
“I’m not done yet!” Frost shouted back, suddenly swinging his blade to the side. The Black Priest had little time to react as the giant sword of ice to his side suddenly swung toward him. He raised his sword, keeping the razor sharp edge from cutting him, but the force of the strike was still enough to send him spiraling across the icy ground.
“Try and keep up, old man!” Frost shouted out as he swung his sword back toward the ice at his feet.
The Black Priest slid to a stop, dragging himself to a halt by jabbing both his swords into the ground as well. The warrior lifted his eyes to the ice child, watching as the boy’s blade entered the icy surface once more. He quickly swung his gaze to his side, watching as a gigantic mirror of the boy’s sword emerged from the icy sheet covering the ground, headed straight for him. He pushed up, rolling out of the way as he leapt back to his feet. He had no time to try and close the distance between him and the child, though, as the boy swung again, another massive blade of ice emerged directly in the priest’s path.
Frost grinned, swinging wildly at the ice at his feet, carefully placing each giant version of his sword around the Black Priest as he attacked. He could tell the grizzled judge was trying to narrow the distance – bring the battle in close once more – but Frost had no intention of letting the man.
“How are you doing this!?” The Black Priest screeched, struggling to dodge each frozen saber’s wild path.
“How!?” Frost yelled back, chuckling. “I have a Mystic Blade, duh! This is just one of the Arctic Blade’s abilities.”
“I can plunge the blade into any surface of ice, creating a version of the blade up to six times as large as the original.” Frost explained, still slashing wildly. “The size of the blade created depends on the size of the patch of ice I’m using, but once its size is determined, everything else is heightened proportionally. Its edge, its force, and even its speed are all increased by the same amount as it passes through the ice! It’s called Jotunn’s Sword!”
The Black Priest sneered, rolling out of the way of another wild strike. Trying to make it to the boy was like running through a field of arrows – the strikes could come from any direction, and they didn’t seem to be determined by the angle or placement of the arctic warrior’s blade as it entered the ice. It was more like he could also control the orientation and position of the blade independently – a troublesome ability. Still, though, the boy had also unveiled the move’s weakness by explaining it.
The Black Priest rolled away from another slash, looking to the ice at his feet. The frozen sheet was the conduit for the boy’s ability – without it, Jotunn’s Sword, as he called it, would be all but useless.
The grizzled warrior dodged another strike before quickly doubling back, placing his palm flat against the ice a moment, concentrating. He only had a second as yet another blade of ice shot towards him. The judge dodged again, then spun back to the same spot, placing his hand on the ice yet again, concentrating harder.
Frost groaned, watching as the priest still managed to dodge each of his slashes. He definitely had the man on the run, but the grizzled warrior was surprisingly agile and nimble on his feet. Despite the field of blades soaring toward him nearly constantly, the man was able to remain untouched – if only just barely each time. Frost needed something more – some added edge to push this struggle in his favor. As if to show him, the Arctic Blade glimmered, shining white a moment.
The arctic warrior lowered his eyes to the blade, watching as the glow faded. He recognized the shine though – it was the shine that usually accompanied one of his magical slashes of ice magic. Was the sword helping him again?
“Worth a try!” Frost shouted, slashing into the ice once more. This time, though, as he pulled the sword free, he summoned up the blade’s magic, releasing an icy arc straight toward the priest.
The Black Priest rested his palm flat against the surface of the ice again, focusing on the frozen surface. His eyes darted to the side as another blade of ice shot toward him. He was almost there – almost done. The grizzled warrior leapt to the side, avoiding the giant crystalline razor, then quickly turned to return to that same spot. As he did, though, his eyes caught sight of something else – a shimmering white arc of frozen energy.
The Black Priest grunted as the white magic slammed into him, sending a freezing chill across his entire body as it struck. He could feel the ice forming on his clothes and face and in his hair as he was knocked to the ground. He grunted, turning a wrathful eye to the ice child across the field. He was getting smarter.
Frost grinned as he finally landed a hit – now he knew what to do. He swung down at the ice again, penetrating the sheet with his sword, and as he pulled it free, he once more shot out a shimmering crescent of ice magic. He held the advantage now.
The Black Priest groaned, pushing up, fighting the cold as he dodged another blade of ice. As he landed, though, he was forced to quickly move again as an arch of ice magic shot towards him once more. He pushed away, avoiding the magical slash, only to find a giant blade of ice already hurtling toward him. He cursed inwardly as he dodged once more, turning his eyes back to the spot he had been focused on as the boy seemed to push him further and further away from it. If he could only get back to it…
The Black Priest slid to a stop, turning to dash back to that point, ignoring the blast of icy energy heading towards him. He clenched his teeth, allowing the magic to strike him as he leapt toward that one spot on the ice. A wave of frigidness consumed him, causing his teeth to begin to chatter as he slammed to the ice, smacking his palm against the surface. He grunted, ripping his arm upward. As he did, the ice around that one spot for nearly six feet suddenly liquefied, splashing upward a moment before crashing back to the ground. And as it did, the priest heard a dull ‘thunk’.
The grizzled warrior turned his eyes to the new edge of the ice, eyeing as it stopped the Jotunn’s Sword in its tracks. Grinning, he lifted his pleased gaze to the shocked expression of the arctic warrior, sword still held in the ice.
“You can’t do that!” Frost yelled out, staring dumbfounded at the pool of melted ice. “That’s cheating! You don’t have power over ice! You can’t have power over ice!”
“Why not?” The Black Priest lifted himself to his feet, brushing off the layer of frost and ice that had formed on him. “Ice is just water in a different form.”
“But my power is Ice!” Frost shouted, growing annoyed as he stared at the pool of water in the center of his perfect icy field.
“No, your power is Cold.” The Black Priest replied, turning to glare at the child. “You element is actually the element of Cold, Ice is simply the most noticeable byproduct of your ability. So while Ice may be under your command due to its frigid nature, it’s actually the cold that you control. The ice itself is still mine to command – it’s just water, after all.”
“But…” Frost opened his mouth to argue, but he new he couldn’t. The man was right. Though ice and snow were products of his power, the ancient stories of creation had been very clear – Cold was created, and from it was born ice. Whether he liked it or not – whether he wanted to admit it or not – Frost knew the priest was right. His ice was just frozen water. His true power… was the cold.
“I see…” Frost grinned, looking down at his sword as he thought back to his realm – to the training he had given himself over the past year. “I guess you’re right.”
“But you know,” The arctic warrior lifted his head up, smiling as he stood in the middle of the giant patch of ice, using an arm to motion to all of it, “we’re kind of at a stand still, now.”
“It seems so, doesn’t it?” The Black Priest replied, turning his eyes to the frost that surrounded him. The boy was correct – he couldn’t step on the ice for fear of being struck by the child’s Jotunn’s Sword. At the same time, though, as long as he remained off the ice, the boy’s main strength was useless.
“Maybe you should just surrender then.” Frost shouted over, grinning wide. “Save yourself the embarrassment?”
“Still think you’re going to win, eh?” The Black Priest shouted, shivering a moment – likely an after-effect of the two icy blasts he had taken. “What makes you so sure.”
“Simple.” Frost replied, laughing to himself. “Like you said… my power is the power of cold.”
The Black Priest cocked an eyebrow, opening his mouth just slightly. As he did, he realized his teeth were chattering, and he was shivering greatly. The priest looked down, staring at his hands as he clenched and released them – he couldn’t feel his fingers. The man gasped, raising his gaze back to the boy’s confident grin.
“Can’t believe I didn’t think of it before!”
The priest tried to rush forward, but his feet refused to budge. Looking down, the priest found the water at his feet had already frozen once more, creating a thick layer of ice. He bent down quickly, placing a hand against the surface, trying to return the water to its liquid state once more. The second he did, though, the water froze again.
“You know, this was the first power I learned to use?”
The priest, teeth chattering, lifted his frustrated gaze back to the boy, glaring as he spoke.
“I never understood the point of it before.” Frost continued, shrugging as his sword continued to radiate an oppressive chill. “In the Ice Realm, this power didn’t do much – the air is already pretty much frozen there, and the creatures are built to withstand the chilling temperatures. But when you talked about cold, it made me remember… you’re not so resistant to the cold.”
“Y-y-y-you’ll f-freeze too!” The priest shouted, hardly able to get the words out as he dropped his swords, hugging his chest for warmth.
“No, I won’t. Weren’t you listening?” Frost replied, sighing. “The creatures of the Ice Realm are built to survive this cold – that includes us Arcticans. This is a breezy summer day, to me. But to you, it’s a frigid cold like none you’ve ever experienced. This is my Pole of Cold.”
The Black Priest collapsed to his knees, shivering uncontrollably as an overwhelming urge to sleep began to grip at him. The cold was causing his body to slow and shut down. In all his years, he had never imagined it was possible to create such an arctic chill – it was beyond his wildest imaginations. He felt like his blood was freezing as he curled into a ball, trying to retain whatever warmth he could. This boy! This damn boy! He growled as his eyelids closed – as darkness intruding upon his mind.
“I should have just done that to begin with.” Frost sighed, staring at the shivering mass trapped in his ice.
The arctic warrior turned as a feminine voice shouted out to him, a familiar anger and annoyance carried along with it. He blinked, staring at Ivy and Myst as they huddled together, shivering uncontrollably as well, the green-haired girl glaring over at him.
“Oh… right.” Frost turned, looking down at his sword. He had almost forgotten any one else was around. Lucky for the group near the inn, they were nearly twise the distance away the priest had been. Otherwise, they’d have met the same fate. With a simple thought, he ended the Pole of Cold, though the warmth was not quick to return.
“G-g-g-g-g-g-gods damn you, F-F-F-F-F-F-F-F-Frost!” Ivy shouted out through chattering teeth as the teen from the Ice Realm approached them. “T-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-too cold!”
“Sorry!” Frost replied with a laugh as he joined the group on the inn’s terrace, watching as the two girl’s shivered. “Forgot you guys were here.”
The white-haired teen turned, glancing at Flare as he sat comfortably on the deck – despite the shorts and T-shirt he was wearing.
“Why aren’t you cold?’ Frost asked, curious.
“Fire tends to keep things warm.” Flare replied, nodding to his sword.
“H-h-h-h-h-h-how about y-y-y-y-y-you sh-sh-sh-sh-share s-s-s-s-some of that—“
Myst didn’t have time to finish her sentence before Flare moved over, wrapping his arms around the two girls huddled together. Almost instantly the both of them felt a strong warming sensation flowing over their bodies. Ivy sighed, pressing in tighter to the redhead’s chest, embracing the warmth he was providing.
“Th-thank the gods.” She cooed, closing her eyes.
“Should probably avoid using that power when we’re all around from now on, Frost.” Flare stated, turning a smile up at the arctic teen. “But good job.”
Frost grinned back, nodding, before turning to stare back out at the Black Priest. Despite the man’s insistence to kill them all, Frost wasn’t sure he had to heart to watch the old guy die. The teen lifted his blade, pointing it in the man’s direction, and pulled back in the cold from the air around him. If he got proper attention… he might still survive.