• The boy with the stringy, wet blond hair flashed his green eyes across the battlefield to his opponent, the shorter of the two, whose red hair flared about the top of his head, and brown eyes were not leaving his green ones. They locked gazes in a battle of wills, each stubborn enough to refuse to admit a possible loss in this match up.

    The blond boy gave in first and his eyes rose from his counterpart to look up the body of the titanic red demon staring him down. It was a massive display of the power within the fiery-headed boy. The monstrosity had come from within him, in a way. For that, the blond had respect.

    "He's a looker alright, Levi, and I'm impressed, but I won't let him scare me into submission."

    Levi, short and sturdy, nodded his assent. "I wouldn't expect you to, Ken."

    Ken nodded his head, too, his blond hair shaking into his face, making a curtain that obscured his vision. He tossed his head to move the hair, which tickled his cheek, and reached a hand into the pouch at his right hip. The charm placed upon the wizard's bag prevented him from mentally connecting with the runes in his bag, and producing anything from the bag but a random draw. So, Ken didn't know the identity of the runestone he had drawn from his pouch until it came free of the cloth container. He added it to the other one he held, keeping the plain gray side facing towards Levi.

    The blue runes on each indicated a water working, perfect for taking out the underworld demon before him. The trick would be in coordinating the two, as one stone carried the rune of a lesser working and the other was far stronger, a greater spell. He held the two in the spaces of three of his fingers and examined his options. He could place the greater spell down first, and use it to provide a power base for the lesser spell to provide a precision strike, which alone would be utterly ineffective. Ken's eyelids narrowed over his emerald spheres as he struggled to connect his instincts and his cunning. He knew Levi would have expected such a thing, and his intuition showed him it would be ill-advised to move in precisely the way Levi would expect, lest he prove to have been manipulated.

    Ken watched Levi, who watched Ken. One long moment of silence drew out between them, and Levi raised his head, lowering his arm to his side, which displayed a facedown rune upon his gauntlet, in addition to the stone which bore the demon's sigil. Ken's eyes filtered out everything but that stone. It was a trap, he knew. Levi had drawn this result to provoke an act of desperation from him. He refused to play into his opponents hand that way. So, with the new knowledge, he refocused on his runes in his hand just as Levi spoke up.

    "Is there a move you can make, Ken? Or will you simply concede the battle?"

    Ken flashed a grin to Levi, who lost his confident air. "I most certainly have a move to make," he stated simply.

    Ken raised his arm and slid one stone upon it, face down and lowered his arm back down to his side. "I think this battle is over with, now, Levi."

    Levi kept his calm, despite the apparent setback. "What do you refer to?" he asked, nonchalantly.

    "I refer to the rune I now hold. The Umara, the great sea, has graced me with its presence. I shall return the favor by utilizing it against your demon."

    Still, Levi didn't allow himself to show any intimidation. He held his stance against the threat, and only raised an eyebrow in challenge. "If that's true, then show me the power of this great sea!"

    Ken nodded agreeably. "Happily. I call upon the power of the sea to unleash a rain storm upon your beast!"

    As a rune of aqua blue glowed upon the open ground in front of Ken, the sky darkened above them and water poured out upon them in a torrential blanket. Ken's hair took on a sandy color as it got soaked, along with their clothes, and Levi's demon raised a burly forearm to shield its face, but the rain was like acid to it, making its knees buckle and legs shake uncontrollably. After a long moment, the demon regained its fortitude and stared down at Ken, grinning menacingly, even as the rain began to slow its fall. Levi looked surprised, his facade finally down. "Is-is that it, Ken? I'm...disappointed."

    Ken didn't flinch away from Levi's remark. "No, that's not quite it, I'm afraid. When the rainstorm weakened your monster, it had the added affect of softening the ground beneath him."

    Levi tilted his head now. "So?"

    "So, that's a bad thing when I call upon the second spell granted to me by Umara, at least for you. The second spell, the stronger of the two, releases the power of a hot spring from beneath the earth."

    Levi's eyes widened, understanding drawing together upon his face. "You're going to plunge him into the water."

    Ken nodded in one motion. "Precisely." Another, much larger sigil lit up the ground, again in light blue, and the ground under their feet began to tremble. Suddenly, a geyser sprayed up under the demon, spraying hot water all over the red-skinned monster and the two of them. The ground around the geyser crumbled away and more water sprayed up, losing pressure because of the wider opening, weakening to a mist. Levi's demon fell into the well, splashing down into the water, dissipating like sugar crystals. Levi and Ken watched the demon fade away and his red sigil faded from the field. Levi placed the runestone into a pouch on his left hip, the used runes, and heaved a great sigh.

    "Well played, my friend," he said, with a proud smile, raising his eyes to meet Ken's.

    "I could say the same for you," Ken replied, meeting his friend's gaze.

    Levi nodded once and clapped his hands together. "Well, what do you say, shall we call it and take a lunch break?"

    "Lunch sounds nice right about now," Ken said, emptying his discard pouch into the draw pouch. Levi did the same, and as they did, the magic power that had composed their spells returned to its natural order, which just so happened to return the countryside to its original state, before it had been sundered by the duel. Together, the two friends walked side by side into town, no doubt headed for the only restaurant in the village.