Episode 3: A Forced Trade

The chase was on. Both warriors started a game of cat and mouse across the green fields of Prontera. Through its pristine lakes and virgin forests, the swordswoman tailed the drifter. They went on for hours without showing any early sign of flinching. Finally, they reached the edge of the Moroccan desert boundary. The robed man stopped for a moment as he took his first step into the warm, grainy sands of the desert.

"Hahahaha! Now you're in my territory! You shall taste the worst defeat here. The desert is my weapon!"

/swt

Umi panted a bit as she stopped from a generous distance. Was he serious? Did they run for so many minutes just for him to gain home court advantage? She took out a Payonese chopstick, skillfully wrapped her elegant green hair on it and inserted it beneath the ridges formed between her base hair and scalp. She then tried to rationalize the thought behind the madness.

"I guess you're right. You can't trip on any tree branches around here," mocked the swordswoman.

The angered thief retorted, "Insolence! My name is Vincent Paradise, remember it well for you shall forever be screaming it in hell!"

Umi let out a fake yawn. "Cheeky catch phrase. I'm Umi."

The robed man named Vincent was infuriated. "For a lady, you talk to much. But enough politeness. Have at you!"

(Author's note: Does she?)

With that said, the drifter threw at Umi her stolen katana and drew out his own dagger. The heirloom blade landed a few steps away from the swordswoman. She picked it up and watched Vincent dash toward her position.

"You're gonna regret ever taking on me, drifter."

"Mwahahaha! I shall wipe you off the face of this earth with my secret technique, mach two! Swift-treading-of-the-desert slash!" shouted drifter as he drew back the dagger in preparation for a forcive attack.

Umi centered her katana in front of her and braced herself for the blow.

The high-pitched sound of metal hitting metal was simply deafening. An wave explosion of momentum followed shortly. The force that was released by the blocked attack threw a considerable amount of sand up in the air within a short radius.

Umi found herself laying a good five steps away from where she originally was. She was thrown off by the magnitude of the force. "Damn. That was a nasty blow," said the girl as she tried to shake her ash-filled face with her left hand.

However, something was amiss. She whiffed the settling dust twice. Her expression suddenly changed from desperation to plain astonishment. "What the hell?"

GUN POWDER?

(Author's note: Err... there should be gunpowder somewhere in Rune Midgard, yes? What makes them claymore mines explode?)

From a distance she saw the robed drifter running away from the crater that stood between the two fighters. His back was partially on fire and he was waving around both his arms like a raving idiot.

/swt

"Come back here, you cheating piece of trash!" yelled Umi as she angrily chased down Mr. He's-on-fire while wildly waving around her katana like an Indian axe.

An oasis.

In the middle of the desert.

The drifter finally got to an oasis where he was able to extinguish the flames by rolling around the shallow watering hole that was in the middle of the lush greens. He laid back for a few seconds in thought. "Funny, I don't remember an oasis being here..."

Umi was quick to follow as she haphazardly stepped in the pool where Vincent went. The drifter got up, with his clothes half-burnt and wet at the same time. His wet albinic hair plopped down into his face like a mop.

"What the hell was that you just did? Why the hell did you use gunpowder on me? Are you trying to kill both of us with your stupidity?" shouted the swordswoman as she pointed at Vincent.

(Author's note: She really has no idea how the gunpowder got inserted into the scene. It was in the air but only their blades clashed. How? That's why it's a secret technique! /gg)

But the drifter took no heed. He was staring at the water's reflection, his eyes, hidden from her view. Umi followed suit with silence. She stared at Vincent. His shoulders were shaking. Maybe he was crying?

...

...

Then, Vincent wildly threw his hair up his face by shaking his head with one abrupt motion. A jester's smile was painted across his face.

"Nyahahahaha! Did you see my secret technique? I am the king of thieves!"

/swt

"You nearly killed the both of us with such reckless use of explosives, you asshat! And you even burned up your clothes!" said the somewhat offbeat Umi in a loud, furious tone. What an idiot, she thought. Wonder how he went about practicing the technique?

They would have gone one with the talk but something unexplainable happened. Dark clouds appeared out of nowhere. Within seconds, the whole lot of Morocc desert was shrouded with rain clouds. It was quite the strange occurrence because everybody knows that it never rains in that part of the desert.

Rain started falling down on the two. The feeling was surreal, being soaked by rain in a land bereft of plentiful water.

Finally, against everything that has been handed down from one generation to another in the name of logic, a lighting bolt struck the watering hole in the middle. The two immediately got knocked of their feet, unconscious.

(Author's note: A "shocking" conclusion? Hehehe, I really need to get these corny jokes out of my system..)

The clouds disappeared shortly afterwards. The bright sunny day setting returned and everything around the place appeared to be back to the way they were always were: dry and undisturbed.

Almost as if nothing had happened.

No clouds.

No rain.

No lightning.

(Author's note: I'm cutting this ep. a little short since the next scene might stretch this episode out of proportion.)