The sun shone brightly and the grass was a vibrant green. A few colorful fairies zipped around the yard and the sky left no evidence of the earlier thunder storm. The entire and most of their close friends were outside. Ruth, Stan, Scott, Marla, and Vanessa all sat on the porch discussing some of the latest gossip. Hugo, Warren, Seth, and Tanu were playing a game of soccer. Kendra, Bracken, and Dale were walking nearby engaged in an intense conversation about the fairies and their unusual lack of energy.
"It just doesn't make sense to me." Dale said shaking his head. "Only a week ago we had double this amount."
Bracken paused, thinking. "There are very reasons fairies would leave their home, especially one as nice as this."
"What could it be Brack?" Kendra asked with concern.
"Maybe nothing. Maybe-" He stopped not wanting to consider this idea.
"Something terrible." Dale finished for him.
Bracken nodded. "I really hope not."
"So do I." Kendra added. "I've had enough of saving the world for the next couple years." The trio chuckled.
"Well maybe you just shouldn't have done such a good job." Dale winked at his somewhat distant cousin. They all laughed.
"What's so funny?" Warren asked as he approached.
Kendra shook her head. "Don't worry about it. Is the game over?"
"Easily." Warren smiled. "Hugo and I crushed them."
"It figures with a golem on your team." Dale said.
"Hey! I'll take any advantage I can get. So what's this deep conversation about? Anything I can help with?" Warren turned to a more serious topic.
"I was just asking Bracken for ideas about what to do about the decreased number of fairies." Dale told him.
"Oh. That's it?" He sounded disappointed.
"What do you mean that's it?" Bracken said.
"Well it's not that big of a deal." Warren replied.
"Actually it is. Fairies disappearing could mean that there's some darkness lurking nearby!" Bracken's voice was starting to get louder.
"Some darkness isn't a bad thing." Warren stated.
An angry gasp filled the air.
"Warren." Dale chided.
Warren shrugged. "What? Without dark we wouldn't really know the light, am I right?" he jokingly shoved Bracken, who recoiled from his touch.
"Traitor!" He shouted at Warren.
"Whoa. Calm down Bracken." He tried to calm down the fairy prince.
"This is a serious matter and it needs to be resolved. I, Bracken, son the Fairy Queen, challenge you, Warren Burgess, to a duel!"
"You can't be serious. Look, go back to your discussion and I'll just go see what's happening elsewhere." Warren offered.
"No. The challenge has been made or are you scared of getting beat?" Bracken stared at him.
Warren's face went cold. "I'm not scared of anyone, especially some punk unicorn. I accept. How, when, and where?"
Bracken smiled. "Weaponless, tomorrow at noon, by the naiad pond."
"I'll be there." Warren said before turning around and stomping into the house. As the door slammed shut behind him, all eyes turned to Bracken wondering what had just happened and why.